ErgoSuite’s Employee Tools – ErgoCoach™
- Your ErgoSuite is a highly cost-effective technology platform which
seamlessly integrates critical-path web-based and computer-based tools
designed to extend the capability and return of employers’ existing and
new Office Ergonomics Programs.
ErgoCoach: Effective Behavioral Training
ErgoCoach, which has been helping people improve their behaviors since 2000, embodies the very best of Applied Behavioral Analysis and Operant Conditioning to help employees learn to make good ergonomic behaviors automatic including stretching, pacing and posture.
Because periodic gentle stretching is an important activity while using a computer, there are many orthopedically designed video stretches built into ErgoCoach clearly demonstrated by culturally diverse live coaches in casual business attire. They’re designed to easily be followed in real time and last from 30 to 60 seconds.
Beyond stretching and other critical functions, ErgoCoach also regularly reinforces all of the information
from the ErgoTutor eLearning course:
No amount of words on a webpage can adequately describe how critical it is for pacing oneself while working on a computer to reduce injury risk and discomfort – and to increase quality and output.
Globally, every current governmental regulation specifically addressing computer ergonomics (including laws
in 30+ countries) includes specific text on the employer’s responsibility in providing periodic rest breaks (microbreaks) during work.
Regardless of which continent you live on, this is most simply understood from actual text (below in blue) from the government-published Easy Guide For Employers regarding EC Directive 90/270/EEC (European Agency for Safety and Health). The terms “Computer Equipment”, “Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and “Video Display Unit (VDU)” are simply culturally different names for the same thing.
Quite specifically, regarding the threshold of computer use qualifying who is covered, it states: “People who normally use a VDU for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour or more at a time.” This best practice reflects scientific findings over decades.
The following direct text is presented simply to illustrate a globally accepted biologically imperative best practice which is known to work:
PLAN CHANGES OF ACTIVITY OR BREAKS FOR USERS
Breaking up long spells of VDU work helps prevent fatigue, eye strain, upper limb problems and backache. Where possible, include spells of other work, eg telephone calls, filing, photocopying etc. If such changes of activity are not possible the law requires you to plan for users to take rest breaks.
– get carried away and work intensely for too long;
– save breaks to take a few longer ones or go home early; or
– use breaks for other computer activities, like surfing the Internet.
Timing and length of breaks is not set down in the law. Needs vary depending on the work done. You are not responsible for providing breaks for the self-employed.
The Dark Ages
- In the early 1990′s before numerous significant studies provided irrefutable data-driven proof of how microbreaks reduce risks while improving productivity, some management within employers were worried that intermixing rest breaks during work would be deleterious to work-flow and productivity of computer users.
In fact, quite the opposite was proven in real-world business environments. The inescapable lesson learned was that, like the marathon runner who paces themselves to efficiently finish a race with minimal discomfort and injury risk, people using computers can do the very same thing where they reduce injury risk in a significant measurable way, improve quality of work, level of comfort and increase output.
Providing real-time coaching for employee behaviors (e.g. neutral postures, stretching and microbreaking for example) is exclusively the domain of computer-based tools.
Although extremely simple to use, ErgoCoach is quite sophisticated internally as it adapts to each employee personally where it models their activity in real-time which changes minute by minute and gently notifies them only when needed with information on their increasing need for a brief break for recovery time. With proprietary escalating multi-level alerts simply conveyed to the employee, the employee can decide when to fit in a stretch or brief break perhaps for 30 to 60 seconds.
- This highly effective biofeedback loop contributes greatly to the regular reinforcement required to make good ergonomic behaviors automatic over time. Moreover, ErgoCoach-Employee interaction diminishes over time as the employee develops their rhythm providing recovery time automatically. Afterwards, ErgoCoach helps the employee maintain the good ergonomic behaviors which would otherwise revert through relapse in the absence of effective coaching maintenance.
Operant Conditioning requires real-time point-of-use reinforcement which cannot be provided through the Internet or from an Internet browser, and so no internet is required with this computer-based tool. The result, for effectiveness, compliance and best practice purposes, is that employees always have the benefit of the
real-time coaching regardless of if they’re working at your facility, telecommuting from home, working on a train, airplane or in a hotel room.
You Already Benefit From Similar Technology In Your Life
The perfect analog to using computer-based tools in this way can be found in automobile seat belt reminders. Many years ago, people were trained in Driver’s Education classes that it’s a vital best practice to wear their seat belts. Eventually it became law throughout the land, however, it was still discovered that providing training was not enough to effect a behavior change in drivers.
- Eventually, drivers were provided simple point-of-use tools to reinforce and foster the proper behaviors which came in the form of a very simple active reminder system. It was simple, effective and did in fact change the behavior of much of the population.
Carefully integrated computer-based tools, also known as desktop tools, ensure timely and relevant positive reinforcement for employees at the point of need at precisely the time of need, as their situation changes throughout their time working. Attempts to emulate this, perhaps with email reminders, are ineffective and fail in the long-term because they arrive unaware of the employee’s real-time situation upon receipt – which negates hopeful effectiveness and undercuts relevance, credibility and impact. Returning to our seat belt analog, with a web-based approach you would mail letters (or send emails) to people reminding them to wear their seat belts – which of course could not make good behaviors automatic.
Beyond The Trees, We Can See The Forest – The Whole Forest
Beyond how computer-based tools improve behaviors, ergonomics staff could never provide the level of observation and feedback across an enterprise which can be achieved through leveraging computer-based tools. It’s strictly a manpower equation. Thus leveraging office ergonomics technology extends the capabilities of an EH&S group to catch up to the real-time realm where the workflow already exists for computer users, at an insignificant cost of investment.
As required by clients with mobile employees and telecommuters, an internet connection is not required so ErgoCoach is always available when employees need it most. For compliance and best practice purposes, no stretching or rest breaks are ever missed due to an employee’s current location or circumstance (e.g. telecommuters, off-site, traveling, etc…).
Unlike web-based tools, computer-based tools are available and active around the clock for employees regardless of location or Internet access and they enable 24/7 care of employees as well as 24/7 objective monitoring of risk throughout the enterprise.
ErgoCoach, when used within the platform, is seamlessly integrated with ErgoSuite’s other employee tools.
ErgoCoach, when used within the platform, is also seamlessly integrated within ErgoSuite’s Management Tools including Reporting, Risk Analysis, Modeling, Key Performance Indicators, Logic Engine and more.
Case Study Mitigation Results
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