When you think about ergonomics (the applied science of designing and developing equipment, workstation layout and work strategies to best suit and protect the human body), do you ever consider how you use your telephone? If you are like me, a good part of your day revolves around the phone. Did you know that there are proper phone techniques and equipment that should be used to prevent chronic neck, shoulder and upper back pain disorders?
The phone location is the first thing you should consider. The telephone should be located close to the main working area. The phone should be easily reached without having to twist, bend or overly stretch.
Next, lets talk about shoulder rests. For individuals who like to have their hands free when on the phone, it is highly recommended to not use a shoulder rest extension on your receiver because it still requires you to cock your head in order to keep the receiver next to your ear. This position places stress on the supporting structures of the neck and can throw the neck out of alignment. Instead of a shoulder rest, purchase a headset device. There are many options and price ranges out there.
A speaker phone allows for maximum flexibility to work while talking. However, for some this may not be appropriate such as during times that clarity, volume and professionalism are required. When considering to use a speaker phone, it is always best to ask co-workers if it is distracting to them and their work. If clarity and noise are a problem, look into purchasing a headset.
Headsets are the most versatile telephone utility. They enable you to work uninhibited while on the telephone and keep your body in an ergonomically safe position.
When thinking about phone ergonomics, writing materials are often overlooked. Be sure to keep a pen and pad of paper near your telephone so messages can be immediately taken without changing position or straining to grab the appropriate materials.
Isn’t it interesting that a few little changes here and there can literally save you from a “pain in the neck” down the road? I for one will be rearranging my workspace to accommodate for less strain.