Ergonomics Program

Ergonomics at work

It is helpful for our well-being, to be comfortable and efficient while working. Ergonomics is the science of helping you achieve this.

The study of ergonomics helps workers adapt their work to promote safety and efficiency rather than work influencing their well-being.

 

Ergonomics at Columbia

University Wide & Department Programming

  • Engaging sessions offered by the University’s ergonomist to empower employees to work comfortably and safely as whole people: body, mind, and emotions. University sessions are offered through the Office of Work Life.  If you are interested in inquiring about bringing programing to your department, then please reach out to [email protected]. We also encourage you to host your own session by playing the video playback in your department or team meeting
    • Take a Break: Stretch and Reset
      • Description: Sometimes all you need is a break! Take a Break: Stretch & Reset is a community of CU faculty & staff, who gather each week to release tension and stress through stretching and meditation. With 30 minutes, you feel rested, connected and ready to thrive! 
      • Testimonial: "Kevin's weekly sessions have been essential to me during the pandemic, for coping with emotional stress and physical tension…The tone that is set in these sessions -- of permission to care for myself, the reminders to really pay attention to my body and my feelings, to choose what I can and cannot do -- have been emotionally healing."
      • Sign up for the upcoming sessions taking place every Wednesday February 9th -  April 20th at 1 – 1:30 PM through the Office of Work Life Workshop & Events and find more replays through the Virtual Well-Being Library
    • Finding Empowerment Through Ergonomics
      • Description: Create a workspace that empowers and supports you! Join us for Finding Empowerment Through Ergonomics, a 30-minute session designed to increase your confidence in in cultivating a comfortable and purposeful work environment. Leave this session with practical tips, personalized ergonomic adjustments, new habits, and strategies to work empowered.
      • Testimonial: “I really appreciated what you accomplished in 30-minutes. The combo of demoing proper posture and workspace set-up with a guided meditation was great. It felt like a real treat to take a pause for your session and think about what I can do to improve my workspace and posture. Thank you so much!”
      • Sign up for the upcoming Tuesday, February 22 at 1 – 1:30 PM session through the Office of Work Life Workshop & Events.
    • Remote Work: Healthy Spaces and Habits
      • Description - Embracing home and work in the same space does not have to be a headache. This session with Ergonomist, Kevin Myers, takes a holistic approach to help you integrate into healthy habits & balance. Learn practical tips, movement strategies, and lifestyle habits to increase your musculoskeletal health, work/life satisfaction, and efficiency at work.
      • Testimonial: "timely, impactful and engaging!"

One-on-One Ergonomic Evaluations

  • A personal evaluation can help bring intervention and/or prevention of specific circumstances or conditions. The evaluation will overview your current concerns, while providing recommendations and changes to allow you to work safely and efficiently. Evaluations are virtual or in person and only last a maximum of 30 minutes.

Ergonomic Sweeps

  • A crash course in workstation set up with a personal touch. Sweeps are for your whole department or team to bring prevention with efficiency. The ergonomist will schedule time to visit your department and visit each team member for a maximum of ten minutes at their desk. Ensure that your whole team has an awareness of ergonomics. 
  • Learn How to Adjust Your Chair: Identify the make and model of your chair to watch simple videos to learn how to adjust them properly. This can be found in the order information or on a tag on the bottom of your chair. The chairs listed are the most common at Columbia University. If you do not see your chair here, feel free to search the make and model on google for further videos. 
  1. Move! It’s the easiest yet most effective habit you can make to improve your ergonomics. Taking time to move does not take away from your day, it adds to it. ~Kevin Myers, Ergonomist.
  2. Align - Limit your awkward postures by aligning your keyboard, monitors, and body midline
  3. Break - Take many moments to intentionally breathe for a minute to reduce work stress. Take micro breaks to stretch every 30 minutes.
  4. Relax - Release your shoulders, sit back, scoot closer, and allow your body to release tension while sitting in a supported position.
  5. Rest - Try taking an eye break to allow your eyes to reset. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
  1. Why is ergonomics important?
    • Ergonomics can reduce the risk of discomfort or injury that can occur due to improper posture and repetitive stress. Reducing this risk diminishes other side effects that come with increased discomfort such as stress.
  2. Is there a cost associated with the ergonomist presenting programs to my department?
    • No.
  3. I have a medical need - what should I do?
  4. What happens at a one-on-one ergonomic evaluation?
    • The ergonomist observes your equipment and how you use it, then may adjust and make recommendations that better position everything in your workspace and promote habitual change based on ergonomic principles and practices.
  5. Does the ergonomist need to touch me to analyze me and my environment?  
    • No. 
  6. Can I just figure this out on my own?
    • Feel free to use the library resources on our site to serve your needs. They have been vetted and approved by the ergonomics program. If you need additional assistance, we are here to help!
Kevin Myers Headshot

Kevin Myers, Columbia's onsite ergonomist, is a Certified Athletic Trainer who holds a Master of Science in Ergonomics and Biomechanics from New York University. Kevin has a passion to help people find comfort and freedom through their well-being.


“We are whole people who come to work. We all deserve to feel comfortable with our full selves (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) in the workplace. If I can allow people the people to become more aware and accepting of themselves, maybe we can create a culture of being more aware and accepting of each other. We are better together, as a community!” 

If you have questions about ergonomics, email: [email protected].

Columbia University Benefits is committed to promoting additional ergonomic support in the workplace through a philosophy of ongoing education, training and ergonomic assessments, as applicable, in the workplace. Through the application of ergonomic principles, Columbia’s ergonomic program aims to promote well-being within the work environment and to increase ergonomic awareness. The Ergonomic program at Columbia University is supported by an Optum on-site ergonomist and the ErgoPro in Flex assessment tool. The ergonomist will act as a liaison to the University on ergonomic matters. The ergonomist may also work with the Leave Management team to advise on proper ergonomic equipment and in the assessment of needs for medical accommodation cases. Coordinated efforts will be maintained with other University departments, including EHS and HR Departmental contacts, as applicable.