Relieving Conflict in Your Physical Workspace

May 8, 2019
Relieving Conflict in Your Physical Workspace

by Sarah Elliott

When we think about conflict in the workplace, we tend to think about the breakdown of communication in our interpersonal relationships. But have you ever considered that your workspace could be contributing to conflict within your body?

The average office worker spends more than 65 per cent of their work day in a sedentary position, seated behind a desk. An improper sitting and work station setup can cause a number of aches, pains and injuries, which is why office ergonomics play an important role in workplace wellness. This assures that employee workstations fit the worker – not the employee made to fit the workstation.

Poor ergonomics contribute to muscle strain, muscle imbalance and fatigue that can lead to a musculoskeletal injury (MSI).  Poor work posture, repetitive tasks without rest and exerting force on an object are all risk factors for the development of an MSI.  Although all risk factors may not be eliminated they can be minimized.  At UNBC, the ergonomic program was developed as a tool for employees to help prevent injury instead of reacting to them. 

Employees are encouraged to evaluate and adjust their own workstations by using the office setup documents from the UNBC Ergonomics Program.  If you identify an issue or are unable to adjust your workstation comfortably, you should notify your supervisor about your concerns and submit an Ergonomic Assessment Request for the safety office to attend.  The safety office maintains an ergonomic standard of core office items that are selected for quality, function, value and environmental impact.  These items can be selected for testing by employees prior to making a purchase.

Furniture items such as desks and chairs are available for purchase by the department through Contracts and Supply Chain Management.