The ‘Goldilocks Principle’ in Ergonomics

We all know the Goldilock fairy tale, where a child named Goldilocks, due to her blond hair, comes across a house in the woods belonging to bears. In the story, the tree bears cook porridge but it is too hot to eat. The three bears decided to take a walk outside as it cools. Goldilock enters the house and starts eating from the three bowls of porridge, where two bowls were too cold or too hot. In the house, she finds another bowl of porridge that has just the right temperature, a chair that is neither too hard nor too soft. After she finished the porridge, she tries the bed and goes for the one that is neither too hard nor too soft. This is the Goldilocks Principle.

 

How does it work? Choosing and going for something that is not too easy nor too difficult, not too hot nor too cold, not too hard nor too soft, not too much nor too less, just choosing the right amount.

 

Goldilocks Principle in Ergonomics

 

Everyone knows that physical activity is good for your health. However, the wrong type of activity can be bad for your body or health. For example, too much rotation can lead to discomfort, too much performing the same action can lead to musculoskeletal injury, and too prolonged standing can lead to varicose veins.

 

On the other hand, not enough physical activity can lead to heart disease, including obesity, fatigue, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization recommends that adults aged 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week. Alternatively, the WHO recommends an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Too much nor too little physical activity is linked to mental and physical health.

 

 

How much is ‘Just Right’?

 

Organizations and employees face difficulties related to the workplace and physical health. The Goldilocks principle in ergonomics is to promote the balance between work productivity or physical activity and physical health. How to find just the right balance? Many workplaces are designed to be in a sitting position all day.

 

The main cause of many workplace discomfort concerns is poor posture and sedentary behavior. Alternating between sitting, standing, and moving is a modern challenge. A standing desk on its own solves neither. You might notice that excessive sitting causes tightness and discomfort in the hips and lower back for example. However, standing for long periods can also cause muscle tightness and discomfort. Many of these issues will be improved by regular movement regardless of your preferred working posture. The alternation is more important than the amount of standing work.

 

Remember we all know that physical activity or inactivity at work is a challenge. Using the Goldilocks Principle offers a new vision of work design that can help with major problems such as physical and mental wellbeing in the office.

 

How can Fit for Work help?

 

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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WEBINAR ERGONOMICS 101: WORKING FROM HOME

Our mission is to reduce risk within the workplace, increase productivity and overall comfort, and worker satisfaction. Therefore, we would like to share our knowledge in a *Free Webinar Series* hosting every last Thursday of 2021. The topic of our first webinar will be Ergonomics 101: Working From Home. We will spend 30 minutes talking about ergonomics, working from home, and everything in between. Learn about ergonomics, work happiness, mindfulness, and as well as taking part in our virtual stretch sessions for 5-10 minutes at the end of each webinar for those who want to join!

 

The first webinar is about ergonomics 101 where you will be trained on the key of ergonomics and show how to properly set up a workstation for optimal health, comfort, and performance.

 

Ergonomics 101

 

When it comes to office ergonomics, small adjustments can make a world of a difference. In ergonomics 101 we are going to talk about…

 

  • Which small changes you can adopt into your working day and your work routine. To start working more healthier with increased productivity.

 

  • Learn how to set up a Working From Home Office for the long term. Think about a good chair position, proper work height, good lighting, or the use of other equipment.

 

  • Boost your productivity and achieve more in less time. Think also about daily chores like answering emails, making your bed, or doing dishes.

 

  • How to get you moving. The fact is, the human body simply wasn’t designed to sit for long periods of time. When we sit for long hours our body will be sour and tired at the end of our working day. How to change?

 

REGISTER HERE

30 minutes of interacting and learning for free! Don’t forget to let your friends, colleagues, and employees know too!

 

Presented by Tessa Smits

Next Month Webinar

 

Are you tired of sitting down the whole day? A standing desk is a great way to tackle your work while staying healthy. However, for many, investing in a standing desk is not cheap. Next month’s webinar series it’s all about how to create a DIY standing desk for your home office.

 

How can Fit for Work help?

 

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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Four Ways To Create a DIY Ergonomic Home Office

Guest author: SEATON HUANG, Junoir Research Analyst at ValueChampion

 

Working at home is convenient, but can also greatly affect your comfort and productivity. Find out how to create a more ergonomic home office setup on a budget. 

 

If you’re stuck working from home (WFH) for the foreseeable future, we understand. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably already experienced some of the positives and negatives of working remotely. On one hand, WFH allows you to loosen up your schedule, dress however you want, and even work from your bed if you wish. However, on the other hand, the distractions or pain of WFH can enable you to be less focused on your work assignments. Because of this, it is now more important than ever to practice ergonomics to optimise your workspace to become a sanctuary of both productivity and comfort.

National University of Singapore (NUS) defines ergonomics as “fitting the job to the worker… [and] adjusting the office workstation to suit [their] needs.” This means that ergonomics encompasses not only the body’s relation to the workspace but also the entire environment in which you work. Although ergonomics has mostly appeared as a marketing ploy for high-end office furniture, you should know that there are free do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions to make your home office more ergonomic.

 

1. Improve a standing desk

For years, standing desks (or sit-stand desks) have been among the most trendy pieces of ergonomic office furniture available. Standing desks are popular because they allow users to alternate between their desired working position, leading to less strain on the back due to extensive sitting. However, for many, investing in a standing desk is not cheap, costing around S$160 for a tabletop riser and over S$600 for a fully motorised sit-stand desk.

Fortunately, making your own DIY standing desk solution is both easy and free. You can most likely even create one using materials already available at home. To make a DIY standing desk that is both adjustable in height and stable to work on, you can stack large books on your tabletop and place your laptop atop the stack. If you don’t have enough books to do so, you can get creative and use storage boxes or any household object sturdy enough to work on. Alternatively, you can consider purchasing the motorised legs and a separate tabletop to save on your homemade sit-stand desk setup.

 

Fig 1. Average Cost of Standing Desks on Singapore’s Major Online Retailers

 

2. Separate your workspace and living area

If you feel like working at home is too distracting, rearranging your space can make you less encouraged to slack off on the job. You don’t need to fully remodel your home to do this. You can start by distancing your desk from your bed, couch, and other areas normally associated with relaxation. By doing this, you limit the possibility of blurring lines between rest and work and gain more accountability in your own designated workspace(s).

If your apartment is small or there is no way to distance your desk from your bed, you should—at very least—keep your bed out of direct sight. Seeing your bed in your peripheral vision causes additional distractions and makes your home office and living space feel synonymous. From improvised room dividers to consideration of the lighting in your apartment, there are several innovative ways you can make your space feel more comfortable and conducive to your best work.

 

3. Adjust your seating posture

Another critical component to establishing a healthy and ergonomic work from home experience is through your seating position. Sitting down for extended periods of time can lead to pain in the lumbar (lower back) and even increase the risk of chronic health problems and illness. Even though ergonomic office chairs contour to the natural shape of your back, you don’t need to purchase an expensive chair to accomplish an ergonomic seating position. In fact, you can keep your savings intact if you make a disciplined effort to adjust your posture.

To do this, try a seating position that allows your eyes to be directly level to your screen. This encourages your torso to rest at a more upright position, similarly to if you were standing. Additionally, it is ideal for your knees to rest either horizontally to your hips or at a slight decline. If you are tall, you can accomplish this by placing a pillow or pad on your seat to raise your behind and torso. Conversely, if you are short, a pad for your feet will help to raise your knees and feet to be more level with the rest of your body.

 

 

4. Put fitness equipment near your workspace

If you had a gym membership before the pandemic, you’ve likely encountered some hurdles in how to establish a consistent fitness routine in quarantine. If not, it’s still likely that the reduction of exercise and physical movement has affected your work from home experience. If you are struggling to stay focused and energised during the workday, take breaks to walk or engage in WFH-friendly exercises to switch up your routine. To make this even easier for you, you can keep your fitness equipment close to your office setup to make the transition from work to exercise seamless and simple.

Additionally, remember that your body’s benefits from exercise and fitness are not relegated to the value of equipment or subscriptions. Simply walking around your home or stretching are beneficial to the ergonomics of your body and home office, just as making adjustments to your posture and physical environment are.

 

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up your workstation or managing an ergonomics programme that supports women and men working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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WOMEN AND MEN ARE NOT THE SAME – ERGONOMICS

When it comes to ergonomics, it will never be a one size fits all approach. In this blog, we are narrowing our focus to the specific demographic of ergonomics for women workers.  

Women aren’t small men, they have a different center of gravity, different sports history, think about cheerleaders or ballerinas. How they sit is different which has to do about muscle memory which comes from early sports activities. Therefore, women can have other causes of discomfort or pain injuries when they are working from home or the office.

 

What are the differences?

Different center of gravity – The new hype going on on social media, Tiktok, or Instagram where you can see the center of gravity challenge between men vs women. The challenge isn’t that hard, they sit next to each other on their knees to have their forearms resting on the floor, followed by their elbows with their faces resting in their hands. Then, they quickly move their arms from the ground to behind their back. Most of the time the women can sit up straight where the men will fall forward. Studies show that a man’s center of gravity is located near the chest while a women’s center of gravity is around her pelvis.

Due to the difference of gravity, the positions of the hips and lower back are different than with men. This means women sit differently which must be taken into account when setting up a chair or workplace.

 

Different sports history – When most men are going to play soccer or basketball, ladies chose hockey, cheerleading/gymnastics, or ballet. Muscles may develop genetic markers during exercise that help the muscle growth in life. Due to this memory, your brain will automatically return to a posture whenever you thinking about it. Especially in sports where hypermobility is more normal, women are more likely to stand or sit in these positions when working.

 

Weight up topSometimes women could have more weight on the top, more breast tissue causes neck or shoulder pain. Breast tissue pulls a women’s upper body forward, which can cause continuous tension on the neck, shoulders, and back muscles. 

 

Most of the time women are the primary caregivers – Which means that they are rounding their shoulders when breastfeeding, or carrying a toddler on the hip. Most women have a dominant hip side to carry their children. Which can cause an asymmetry in the spine, which will carry over how women sit or stand.

 

 

Skinny up” the waistlineWomen are often taught to “Skinny up” the waistline. As they suk in the belly and wear a tight dress or something form-fitting. This is evicting how they stabilize their core and change how they are sitting every day. 

 

All these differences can be causes to experience pain or discomfort for a woman, which not only can come from the (home)office set up. This needs to be taken into account from an ergonomic view.

 

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports women and men working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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HOW ERGONOMICS REDUCE COSTS IN THE OFFCE

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Ergonomic programmes are becoming more popular and ergonomic interventions becoming more necessary. However, is the Ergonomic programme worth the investment in the workplace? And how can ergonomic programmes reduce costs in the office?

The incidence of Musculoskeletal Disorders associated with computer use is increasing every year. Musculoskeletal Disorders continue to account for the largest proportion of work injuries, namely between 45% and 65%. Implementing an ergonomics program can help trim operating expenses by reducing costs and improving productivity.

 

Costs

Injuries and illness have a major impact on the employer’s bottom line. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries developed a cost-benefit calculator. The Cost-Benefit calculator can present a justification to management for implementing a ergonomics programme. This calculator is a decision-making tool and is a simple way to weigh up project costs and the benefits of the project. The calculator is based on the review of 250 studies where organizations reported the outcomes of ergonomics programs.

 

Benefits

A good ergonomic program is always cost-effective and reduces costs in the office. Besides reducing the costs, there are more benefits of an ergonomics programme. Benefits include reductions in the number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders or the incidence rate, as well as related lost workdays, restricted workdays, and workers’ compensation costs. Additional benefits reported were related to productivity, quality, turnover, and absenteeism.

 

 

Return on Investment

The money saved in the long term with an ergonomic programme is called the Return Of Investment. This means, how long will it take to earn back the money that was originally invested so a profit can be seen? The two main factors which determine the return of investment are direct and indirect costs associated with the injury. In 2008 he Cornell University developed the ROI estimator for a reliable estimate of the return on investment.

 

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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WORKING FROM THE FLOOR

While working from home everybody switched from desk, to the sofa, to the bed, the floor and back to the desk. After a whole year you know every cm of your home office. Or some studio’s or apartments just aren’t the most spacious, and there is simply no room for a desk. In addition, sitting on a chair is Westernization. However, there are many cultural traditions of sitting on the floor, on mats, carpets, Chinese K’ang or cushions. But despite the comfort for most people of siting in a chair, is there a medical benefit from working from the floor? 

The Benefits

Even working from the floor can have pros as well. As most people work from their desk or sofa they are often hunching or slouching forward. While hunching or slouching forward our blood pressure is increasing, due to decreasing of blood flow. Your knees are straight out when sitting on the floor, this means that there is a improved blood circulation which improves your concentration and productivity. Despite, working from the floor is increasing your flexibility and mobility. 

 

 

The Concerns

Despite the benefits of working from the floor, there are some concerns. Working from the floor can increase lower back and hip pain. The spine is out of alignment due to a rotation of your hips. When sitting on the floor most people lean against the couch, which doesn’t provide enough back support to sit up straight. The lotus position or sitting on your own without any backrest maintain the natural curve of the spine.

 

Reality is..

There is no perfect position that is perfect to be in for 8 hours a day. You need to keep moving around to keep your blood flowing so your muscles can relax. Extended periods of sitting, wherever you do, isn’t good for your body. The best position to work from is a supportive chair with lumbar support, for longer periods, which you found comfortable. Basically listen to your body and remember to have more walks and stretching during your working day regardless where you are working from.

 

How can Fit for Work help?

To learn more about setting up or managing an ergonomics programme that supports staff working from home or in the office or support with staying legally compliant, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com. For more information on our Ergonomics Self-Assessment and Education Tool, visit www.deskeval.com

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WORKING FROM HOME – THE BENEFITS OF PLANTS

This month most of the people are working from home for over a year. We are all trying to adjust to new routines as we are spending more time indoors. This can have an effect on your mental wellbeing and work performance. To increase work performance and improve mental wellbeing, plants in your office are the solution. The benefits of plants in the office are not only a visual beauty, but also good for your health. By adding more green into your workspace can have major positive benefits.

 

Benefits of having Plants

Plants clean indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity & producing oxygen. Plants remove the toxic from the air in your office. Chemicals which you breath out can be in furniture, carpet, pens, printer ink and more.

Plants improve concentration, creativity and productivity.  Studies show that plants in the office increase productivity and creativity up to 15%. Being around plants makes people more relaxed and calm which improves creativity and concentration. Furthermore, plants clean the air and increase the oxygen in the room so productivity improves. 

Plants reduce your stress level and boost your mood. Plants increase the level of positive energy, seeing green and nature on your desk regulate humidity which stimulate 

Overall the benefit of plants in your office is to clean the air by absorbing toxins and acting as little oxygen factories which increases productivity, creativity, concentration and your level of positive energy. They make us feel better! 

 

 

Green Fingers

Not everyone has green fingers. No worries, there are multiple different plants which grow well without knowledge of gardening. There are a couple of factors you need to consider when purchasing a plant. Think about lightning in your office, watering and the room temperature. Easy office plants are Cacti, a Devil’s Ivy, ZZ plant or a Snake plant, and the best part? You can even purchase plants online!

 

Support for your company

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

 

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HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY?

A good sleep is essential to good health. Insufficient sleep and poor quality sleep increases the risk of health problems. Sleep is just as important as regular exercise or eating healthy. You spend about a third of your time sleeping during the day. What if you don’t sleep well? How to improve your sleep? What are the benefits of sleep?

Sleep Cycle

How much do you need? Your needs and your sleep patterns change by age but also varies significantly by person. There is no number of sleep that works for everyone. A baby sleeps around 10-16 hours a day, while an elderly person sleeps around 4-5 hours per night. Most adults sleep around 6-9 hours per night. Your sleep quality depends on the sleep cycle you are going through during the night.

Stage 1  is Transmission. This is the changeover from wakefulness to light sleep and this stage last around 5 minutes. You can be easily woken up in this stage.

Stage 2  is Light sleep. Your heartbeat slows down, body temp drops and eye movement stops. During this stage your brain activity slows down. This stage last around 15-20 minutes.

Stage 3 is Deep sleep. The deepest sleep occur, you can have difficulty waking up. Brainwaves become even slower and all the muscles in your body relax. This stage last around 30 min.

Stage 4 is REM sleep. In this stage most dreams occurs. Your eyes move from left to right behind closed eyelids. The brain is becoming more active, breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels. You go through all stages every 90 minutes. Remember that sleep quality is more important than your sleep quantity. 

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your body. Hormones, exercise performance, brain function as your concentration. When a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality of sleep for a longer period of time, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity.  

 

4 Tips to improve your sleep quality

A good night’s sleep is not normal for everyone. What to do if you don’t sleep well? We have a couple of tips to improve your sleep quality.

1 . Try to increase bright light during the day. Sunlight or bright light helps the inner clock off your body to stay awake and tell your body when it’s time to sleep. 

2. Exercising is good for your body, mind and your sleep quality. Exercise 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed.

3. Relax but don’t lay in bed while you are awake. Try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine. If you can’t sleep, try to do something else, listen to music or read a book. Avoid grabbing your phone to reduce the blue light exposure

4. Routine seems boring, but it is the best for your sleep quality. Set a schedule and go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. This helps you reduce sleep hormones to signal your body is getting tired.  

 

Ergonomics support for your company

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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A SAFE WORKPLACE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME

Keep working from home as much as possible, is WHO’s advice. For many employees this would mean that they continue to work from home now the pandemic taking longer than expected. Many people will continue to work at home after the corona crisis. This raises many questions about a safe workplace for both employers and employees.

 

The offices have changed and most people left the office only with a laptop. For example, not everyone has a good and safe workplace at home. But, who is responsible for a good and safe home workplace? 

 

Responsibility

Did you know that it is the employers responsibility to support the safety of employees? Regardless of where the employee is working. Now that working from home is becoming more structural, we would like to advise employers to pay attention to every home situation of the employees.

 

Healthy and Safe Workplace

By providing a healthy and safe workplace means that the workplace is adapted to the personal characteristics of the employee. This also applies to a safe home workplace. In some cases it concerns an unhealthy or unsafe working place. 

 

Ergonomics

The Fit For Work DSE self-assessment is the solution to help you as an employer and your team. This ergonomic self assessment is an opportunity to be guided through the workstation, even if the employee is working from home or in the office.

How does it work? During the assessment the employee is taken through a step by step evaluation. The same as they would be during in-person evaluation at the office. This provides real time advice and education on setting up the full desk setup as the chair, desk and all other equipment used while working. 

One completed, the assessment will generate an individualized report with adjustments recommended to the user’s workstations throughout the evaluation. The report also includes ergonomics that may improve the posture and their workstation. 

Check out our website to provide you or your employees a safe work environment even when you or they working from home. 

 

Support for your company 

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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POSTURE AND ERGONOMICS – IS IT IMPORTANT?

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Good posture – We are sure you’ve heard this phrase! Have you been told to fix your posture or ‘stand up straight’? But, do you know exactly why and what good posture is?

 

Posture is the position of the body while sitting, standing or even when lying down. Your skeleton and muscles are responsible for this. When it comes to your position at work, it is important to remember that even good posture, when held for a long time can lead to fatigue and discomfort.

This image shows examples of everyday postures. Note that in each example of ‘good posture’ the back is straight and the natural curves of the spine are maintained.

UNDERSTANDING CORRECT POSTURE

To help us understand what good posture is, we need to consider the alignment of our joints, this is how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles line up. The symmetry between one side of the body and the other is also an important factor. We also need to think about what a ‘neutral’ position looks like. Neutral is when the joints are not bent and the spine is not twisted. For example, the neck; neutral is where we are looking straight ahead and not down, this puts less stress on the spine. In an office, observing people working with bent backs and twisted wrists is common, these are examples of poor postures.


This image shows that when the head moves forward the weight on the spine increases significantly.

BENEFITS OF GOOD POSTURE

  • It can decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • It can help to improve breathing and blood circulation.
  • Good posture can prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Reduces the risk of fatigue by using muscles more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevents muscle strain or overuse problems such as back or neck pain
  • Contributes to a good appearance.

 

4 TIPS TO IMPROVE POSTURE

1. Stand tall! Aim for your earlobes to line up with the middle of your shoulders.

2. Keep your shoulders back and your back straight. Remember to do this when changing postures also.

3. Become aware of and correct habits. For example, standing more on one leg, sitting with your legs crossed, using a shoulder bag on the same shoulder always or tendency to lean on one elbow are postural habits. It is worthwhile identifying what your own postural habits are and acting on them as soon as possible.

4. Change position frequently – often we adopt poor postures because we have been static for too long and our body feels tired. This is your body telling you to move. Change posture at least every 45 minutes.

Have patience! – It is not unusual to feel that correcting your posture feels awkward. Remember that your body has been accustomed to sitting or standing in a certain posture. With discipline, you can make significant improvements that will be beneficial in and outside of the office.

 

ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY

To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at info@fitforworksg.com to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.

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