22 Feb Ergonomics and Coaching in Work, Leisure and Sport
Ergonomics is primarily concerned with establishing a fit between the workplace and the people who work within it. Over recent years, people have become much better informed over the benefits of keeping healthy, and they are more likely to be involved in sports and physical exercise during their leisure time. Thus it should come as no surprise that ergonomics has now become a major influence on sports science.
Ergonomics in sport
This influence has been manifested in many ways. Examples are the design of sports shoes, racket and golf club design, artificial sports surfaces, protective devices, and the development of safe exercises and work out routines. Essentially the approach ergonomics takes to sport is closely related to that of the workplace. It involves assessment risk factors, ways of dealing with stress, hazard elimination, and evaluation of specific sport environments.
Why we need a sports coach
Our fundamental capacity to perform our daily tasks at work and leisure is related to our physical fitness, particularly in terms of our aerobic capacity and physical strength (Faulkner J & Eston R, 2007). While we are able to improve on both of these by engaging in training and exercise, it is essential that we avoid over-training and allow adequate time for recovery between training sessions. How do we know if we are approaching such danger points? Once we start looking at such factors in any depth, it becomes apparent that we don’t really know. Left to our own devices it is easy to stray into dangerous territory where training is counter-productive and doing us harm.
The need for a coach soon becomes apparent. Not only can a good coach provide guidance on the kind and extent of the exercise we need, he can make all the difference to our performance helping us progress from mediocre to higher levels.
Do you need a workplace coach?
While the need a sports coach is an easy case to make, are we able to make a similar argument for the need of a coach in the workplace? After all, there are significant parallels. While workplace ergonomics focuses on fitting the workplace to the worker, a workplace coach help workers optimize their approach to the workplace.
It is a kind of balancing act. Once the workplace has been made as free from hazards as can be achieved by the application of state or art ergonomics, there is still a potential gap. For instance, the application of ergonomics might have created changes that are not fully understood and which workers are uncertain about using. Perhaps it is because they prefer doing things the old way, or maybe they really don’t understand the importance of adjusting their new ergonomic workstation to achieve the best posture. A little coaching in such things can make huge inroads in achieving the overall goals of reducing injures.
Workplace coaching involves much more that telling people how to use the latest innovations; often they need real time training and practice too. If they are reluctant to do things the new way rather than the way they have been used to, then demonstrating that with a little practice the new way will be more comfortable, should get them over that hurdle. Once people grasp the basic principles of ergonomics, they are far more likely to react positively to change, and will happily engage with the coach to discover ways of working that will minimize strain and improve comfort. Another potential benefit of workplace coaching is to reduce stress and increase motivation and job satisfaction by including an element of psychological assessment in the coaching process (Lynne D, 2015).
If you are interested in discovering more about ergonomics and workplace coaching, please read about our Ergonomics Plus System.
Faulkner, J., Eston, R. (2007). Overall and peripheral ratings of perceived exertion during a graded exercise test to volitional exhaustion in individuals of high and low fitness. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 101, 613-620.
Lynne D, (2015). Exploring the value psychological assessment brings to workplace coaching for the purpose of stress reduction and increased job satisfaction; Massey University; thesis. Retrieved from http://mro.massey.ac.nz/handle/10179/6968?show=full