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How Good Ergonomics Education Improves Workplace Productivity

Having good ergonomics education for your organisation is one of the important pillars of any wellbeing program. In this episode of ‘Wine and Wisdom’ I speak to Kirsty Angerer about ‘How Good Ergonomics Education improves Workplace Productivity’.

We discuss:

  1. What ergonomics really is.
  2. Why ergonomics should be an integral part of a wellbeing program.
  3. Why organisations should implement ergonomics and when they should do this.
  4. Why it is an exciting time for ergonomics?
  5. Plus lots lots more 🙂

You can either watch the full Q&A here, or read the full transcript below.

H – Hello everybody, welcome to Season two of “Wine and Wisdom.” I feel very lucky because on our first show for Season two, we have the very talented, Kirsty, who you can see right here in front of you. And I welcome Kirsty. She is in the UK, so we just had a little bit of a giggle, because obviously it’s “Wine and Wisdom,” and I’m drinking wine. What are you drinking, Kirsty?

K – This is black currant cordial.

H – And it should be at, what is it, eight in the morning or something?

K – Yeah, but you know what they say, you know, it’s, what is it, drinking hour, somewhere in the world. So I guess I could have had a wine but I’ll be good.

H – I think it’s best that you’re good at this hour of the morning. But I’m just going to have a sip for you.

K – Thanks yeah, I’ll have a proper glass tonight.

H – Good to hear. So thank you for joining us on “Wine and Wisdom.” The whole idea of this show is that we can just relax with a wine. You know, Sydney time, it’s 8:00 p.m., and life is all about enjoying the good things and having some balance, and a glass of wine certainly does that, and when you’re matching it with good food, and with good people that you share life with, I think, it’s a beautiful match. So we’re also bringing in the wisdom for this show on the experts that are in my network, and in your network. And tonight, we’re very lucky to have Kirsty with us. And she has got up early for us in the UK to be here tonight. It’s night here, morning there. So, firstly Kirsty, I’d love you to introduce yourself, and let our listeners know, who are either online right now, or will watch it later on. You know, who are you, what are you doing, and what positive impact are you making in our world?

K – Good question, thank you, Heidi, I’m so excited to be here. We’ve known each other now, I think, I was trying to think about this, maybe three years at least I think now?

H – Yes, at least, yeah.

K – Crazy crazy. And, by the way, happy birthday! Because it’s not your birthday, but it’s your birthday of your book.

H – It is the birthday of my book, thank you for knowing that. Yeah, one year today, I know it’s incredible, it’s a big day.

K – Oh my gosh, amazing, fantastic, so, and I’ve read it by the way, it’s literally in my eye line, the book is on my bookshelf over here.

H – Ah, thank you.

K – I guess, yeah, I’m Kirsty, otherwise known as the traveling ergonomist, so I’ve been working in the field of ergonomics now for 10 years and two years ago, but actually tomorrow is the anniversary of the business, which is incredible, so I’ll be starting my third year tomorrow and what I wanted to bring also, I’ve been in ergonomics for 10 years and working with corporates all around the world in office environments predominantly and then I also spend a lot of time in industrial environments too, helping businesses with their efficiency of people and their manufacturing facilities as well. But I started the business really to challenge myself and to challenge the status quo on how can we represent ergonomics in a bit of a more fun and friendly way because ergonomics is a science and it can sometimes be, some people may interact with it in a very sciency way and it’s not always the best way to present it, because that’s my job. My job is to know the science and to know the detail. Everyone else’s job is to learn about it in a way it impacts their own lives daily, so that’s my mission, is to kind of present ergonomics in a much more friendly and fun way, so that people can actually day to day realize how it can help them.

H – Yes, yeah. And I think that’s so important, because it does feel like a very scientific, which of course it is and it needs to be, it needs to be a science, not just this warm and fuzzy thing that you go in and talk about things that aren’t with scientific background and I know that is how you got started. I mean, you have a very intense degree in this work. Tell us about how all that happened.

K – So I don’t know if it’s the same in Australia, but I did my A levels, I was 18 and you have to choose four and you finish them and I did sports, biology, graphic design, English and you get all of those results and you go okay, so what am I going to study at uni? And actually I wanted to study sports science at uni and when I got my results, you have to, the uni that I wanted to go to was Loughborough University and it’s a very top university actually in the world and certainly in the UK and for sports it’s number one, but I just missed out one percentage on getting in that degree. Literally a percentage.

H – Oh my God.

K – So, obviously, I had a complete nervous breakdown that day, inconsolable, ate all the chocolate, ice cream, whatever you can imagine and thought my life’s over. Seriously, I was like, I just want to do sports, that’s my passion. And then I thought about it and thought you know what, actually my passion is humans, the human biology, human body and design, so what degree could I do to cover all of that and ergonomics was that degree for me and honestly studying ergonomics and human factors at Loughborough was literally the best thing I ever did and it changed my life completely and I’ve now traveled the world and I really make such an impact on people and probably much more so than I ever would’ve done if I’d done a sports science degree.

H – Yeah, Kirsty, I’ve gotta admit that when we first met we were at a conference together and you told me what you did and I think, I mean, I believed at the time and it has changed a little bit here in Australia, that ergonomics wasn’t a big thing. I think, certainly in the UK, it feels to me that you’re way ahead than we are here in Australia with ergonomics programs, so those of us, like I wanted to ask you at that conference but I didn’t want to seem like a dumbo, what I wanted to say to you was, so what is ergonomics? What is it really, what does it mean and who is it for, who is it best for? Can you just give me a little bit of a, not in a big scientific term and for those of us who just like things in layman’s terms, please.

K – Yeah, ergonomics is literally a story of interactions. So, how we interact with each other, how we interact with products and how we interact with our general environment as well, so it’s literally how humans interact with the world and then, if that’s the definition, then it literally impacts every single person, every single day of your life.

H – Wow, yeah.

K – Yeah, sorry, literally from the moment you wake up, where are things positioned, from the moment you go down to make your breakfast, where are your pots and pans positioned, where are the door handles? How do you drive your car and set up your car to drive to work and then, when you get into the workplace, how are things set up that way as well.

H – Yeah, which I know, I mean that’s where you really shine, in workplaces and helping companies to make sure that they have education programs and assessments and everything for the people within that workplace so they don’t have musculoskeletal problems, which we’ll talk a little about. But are there other people who would go into a more of a personal ergonomics and help people with the setup of their car, of their homes, is there a differentiation with what people go towards?

K – So, ergonomics really does, there’s different kind of disciplines within ergonomics, so it really is kind of put into three sections, so you have physical ergonomics which is probably more what I do, how you interact with physical things, like your desk chair, laptop, that kind of thing, then you have cognitive ergonomics, which is processing memory, how things navigate at work place in terms of how noise interactions affect them and like cockpits on helicopters or airplanes, how does the pilot navigate those different buttons and lights constantly pointing at them, and then you have organizational ergonomics which is strategies, so how as a business, do we align ergonomic strategies with what we want to achieve as a business, whether that’s in making more money, in producing new services or improving our employees, so there’s definitely different sectors of ergonomics and then within those sectors, there’s different industries. So, yeah, you could do office, office industrial, automobile, airplanes, military, clothing design, everything.

H – That’s unbelievable, wow. So, I mean, as I said you shine in the workplaces, in offices, tell me a little bit about what happens when someone calls you up and says, I think I need an ergonomics program or I need you to come and look, what are the steps that go on so you can help people to improve their workplaces and product. And product, I mean, I suppose, productivity and pain reduction are the outcome, what are the outcomes of it? First of all, that would be a good place to start, what are the outcomes and then what are the, yes.

K – From an ergonomics perspective, really our outcomes are human health and human performance. That is the two major outcomes, so whatever we do, we want to achieve those two things, so I should not leave the workplace without you feeling healthier or at least understand what can make you healthier and then also feeling like you’ve got a better environment to perform better at work or perform better in life as well, that’s definitely the two major kind of takeaways from it.

K – So those are the two kind of impacts you want to make. People will call me up for any old reason. I might get a call saying, hey Kirsty, we’ve got someone who is suffering with back pain at the moment in the workplace, could you come and do a workplace assessment and help us figure out what we can do to change or a company might call me up and say, hey Kirsty, we’re moving to a brand new office, how can you help us make that a better experience for our employees? Or it could be an office refurbishment or it could just be, we need an annual check, we actually think we’re doing well, we’re doing okay, but can we just check up on things?

H – So tell me about the work that you’re doing now within organizations, what is the main thing that you are getting called in to do and what happens? ‘Cause I know, I mean, you’ve just been in France, I’ve seen that, wow, the traveling ergonomist who’s actually traveling all over the country, all over the world all the time, so tell me what happens in this kind of situation.

K – Yeah, it’s funny, people go to me, are you the traveling ergonomist, because you just like to take lots of holidays or do you actually travel with work, and I’m like, well, both. I like both the holidays and I genuinely travel with clients all around the world, so at the moment, probably the biggest thing I’ve been asked to help with is office moves and office refurbishment, so, people are going through this transition, I guess because wellbeing as a trend has just blown up everywhere. Everybody’s talking about wellbeing, whether that’s nutrition, exercise, lighting, the environment, or ergonomics, well, what I do. So, I guess from that point of view, a lot of corporates, even though there’s a few regulations in some countries, they want to give the best opportunity to their employees and their people, but they don’t know how. What is the best furniture? What is the best layouts? And alongside that, how do we train our people to fit in their environment or make the environment fit them properly, it’s all well and good having the best products in your office, but it you don’t know how to use anything or navigate that workplace, then, well, you’ve just wasted a lot of money.

H – Yeah, of course you have. Yeah, and I mean, it’s interesting with this whole kind of workplace wellness that is just a growing, I was about to say trend, but it’s not a trend, it’s something that’s integral for performance to happen within workplaces and it all started with really, fruit bowls in the kitchen and Friday afternoon yoga and which is kind of a pet hate for anybody who does it properly and has it linked to strategy and performance goals, that if you think you can tick this off by just putting a fruit bowl in the kitchen, it’s a real problem. But, and if you’ve talked about lighting becomes, it’s such an integral part of people’s productivity as is ergonomics and we’re really seeing such a change in organizations wanting to incorporate this whole, it’s kind of like the whole umbrella of things that will help people be more well at work, which makes, it’s a direct link to them performing better, which is a direct link to the bottom line of an organization, is that what you’re seeing?

K – Oh absolutely, it’s so fascinating to me that we are campaigning for mental health wellness, health awareness, we’re putting sugar taxes, because of the obesity crisis, we’re in the streets, fighting climate change, so it’s fascinating to me that we’re doing all of that which is incredible and we should keep doing all of that obviously, but within all of that, we still, not enough of us know about ergonomics, and it’s fascinating to me, because ergonomics is literally how humans interact with their environment. So, we fix everything.

H – Yeah, that’s really everything.

K – It’s kind of all all-encompassing. Let’s sit down with all the key stakeholders of the business and figure out a way to make your people perform better, and not because that should be a driver for the business and turning over the business kind of financials, but actually because it’s the right thing to do. Why would you not want your people performing better, performing at a point which they feel comfortable with and just being healthier, isn’t that just the driver for everyone?

H – Absolutely, well, certainly from where I see the world. Without a doubt, yeah.

K – It’s just the right thing to do and so when people talk to me about what’s the bottom line, what is the return in investment, Kirsty, of me bringing you into the business. And I say, sometimes I can’t give you a factual number on this, but I promise you, that your business will be better placed with these strategies.

H – Yeah, of course. So when do you think corporates, any organization should think about starting an ergonomics program? When does that happen and what should they do to get started?

K – So ergonomics is a proactive discipline, so it’s something that we want to do to design issues out completely, so at its very core, the most important place to put ergonomics is at the beginning of a project. So if you’re in this place now where you’re thinking, we’re going to be moving our people to a new building or a new office or we’re thinking about refurbishing the office in the next six months, an ergonomist should be involved in that very early conversation, because we can help impact you from the furniture you choose to the layout, to just even how you manage that change process, to how you communicate that to your people, so if I could work with clients at the early stage, every time, that would be incredible. Often, it doesn’t always happen that way, because some people don’t know that ergonomists exist, and ergonomics exist, so I often get a call maybe, much later down the line, but it’s important along the whole process, so anytime really, but the most important is at the beginning of a project.

H – Yeah, of course. And if people are wanting to just do something like a DIY thing before, to get something in place prior to getting a professional like you, what would be something that you would recommend people get started on within their organizations?

K – Would you, is that for the business or just people individually.

H – No, if I was, I mean is it HR people that you would normally be talking with to get an ergonomics program started?

K – Potentially, so, if I was to say to a business to get started, I would get a variety of people in the same room. So it would be HR, health and safety, facilities, management, maybe the CFO or the CEO, whoever the highest part in your business is, bring them in and then also bring a handful of your employees, the people on the ground. Bring everyone into the meeting and say hey, guys, what are the issues, what are we seeing? Who’s or have we ever gotten injuries or are people just uncomfortable? Are things going wrong in the workplace in terms of environment, what are the issues and let’s talk about some of the solutions around that, I think, if we can all get then on the same wavelength as a group, you’re better placed to continue that process.

H – Yeah. Okay, and so, they say to you, all right, we really want to bring you in, and you start something in, and we’re going to do that in six months’ time for whatever reasons there may be, but is there one thing that we could actually do ourselves in the interim, I mean if, I know that would always depend on the kind of workplace and the organization and what they’ve already got in place, but what are some of those, or what is one thing that people could do themselves and start to make a positive difference, a positive impact on their people within their organization? What do you think that would be?

K – I think the biggest thing would to actually just go out there and ask your people, actually communicate, say, guys, what are the issues, tell us, we are listening and we are going to write these down and we’re going to figure out a way to build a plan, but before we do any of that, what are the issues, because you can’t design a workplace and you can’t fix something if you actually don’t know what there is to fix.

H – What the people actually on the ground are actually experiencing, yeah.

K – Yeah, so you’ve got to go and, guys and girls, is it the chairs that are annoying you, is it that we don’t have sit-to-stand desks, is it that we don’t have blinds, so the light keeps shining on your face or is it that there’s too many open spaces and we can’t concentrate? What are those kind of pain points and now let’s, now that we know those pain points, we can start to build on it.

H – Yes, yeah, I mean, talking about open spaces that you can’t concentrate it, I mean, we have this huge movement to agile working and big open plan areas and there seems to be no matter where you look, very contrasting views on whether they are great for an organization or not. Whether they’re good for the people’s productivity or not. From an ergonomics point of view, what are you seeing when you go into places like that?

K – It’s an ergonomics nightmare.

H – I had a feeling you might say that.

K – So, a lot of people say to me, well, now we’ve got open plan spaces and agile working and flexible working and we’ve got co-working spaces, so many people are moving around more and working in different environments, surely, ergonomics is kind of redundant now, we don’t need you, Kirsty. Actually it’s the opposite, you need me more, because no one knows how to use those environments. Before you were given your own table, your own chair, your own monitor, your own keyboard and mouse and that was yours, everyday, in the same place. Now you could be sat over there, you could be sat on a different floor, you could be sat in a cafe, you could be sat at home, how do you actually figure out how to use those spaces for you and not many people know, there will be some people that know about that, ’cause they’re invested in their health and wellbeing and have researched it, but a lot of people have absolutely no idea.

H – Yeah, of course and there are so many remote workers now, I mean, it’s the norm to have flexible work arrangements and remote workers, so, coming into just a bricks and mortar workplace to set up great ergonomics, it’s not just about that, is it? Because there is all these layers to where people are working from.

K – Massively, obviously it’s the physical work station that you’re going to be working at, the chair, desk and the laptop, but it’s also, where are all these different workstations positioned in regards to where the lift is or the staircase is, because if it’s close to a lift and people keep coming in and out of the lift, well, that’s going to be quite annoying for that person sitting right there.

H – Yeah, it would be.

K – So, it’s about navigating the workplace as a whole and not just those kind of finite work stations as well, but I guess, the two main things would be educating people on how to get themselves into a neutral posture and making sure that people move regularly.

H – Yeah, okay. And what is a couple of tips that you’ve got for either individuals or for workplaces to set up to ensure people are getting up and moving, because it’s, I mean, we as a society, we can be locked into our laptops and our computers without even looking up for air in a day, so what can we make sure happens, that we’re actually moving?

K – So I think, well first things first, is not giving people that opportunity to have their printer and their bins or things all on the same desk. Let’s create a hub in the middle of the office where you have to move to put something in a bin or you have to move to get a printout of something, because that way, that’s a very normal thing to do. The second thing would be to actually just educate people on the impacts, you know more than anyone, Heidi about static postures and how bad that is for us, so, how do we communicate that to people and there was actually a study done by Joan Vernikos which she’s a former life scientist at NASA and she did this piece of research and she looked at astronauts and when astronauts are in space, they lose muscle memory, they lose balance, coordination and their immune system is suppressed. What she found was that people in the office who sit for long periods of time, have the same symptoms.

H – Oh wow.

K – So if that’s the case, if you are sitting for too long, that’s going to affect your immune system, your blood circulation, your coordination and just your mobility in general. So, if that’s the case, then surely that’s a force to get you moving.

H – Yeah, and you’ve got a great stat, I remember, we presented together, well, we presented together twice, and you have repeated this statistic about when you sit for a certain amount of time, your fat burning capabilities deteriorate. Do you remember the stat I’m talking about, you remember it?

K – Yes, so after one hour of sitting, 90% of your fat burning enzymes stop working.

H – Oh my goodness. Right, I’m just getting up now.

K – Yeah, I guess I should too, me too.

H – Yeah, let’s just do that. Okay, all right, let’s go, must remove that feeling. Oh, yeah, I mean I think—

K – It’s as simple as that, it’s just get up and move around for a few seconds, 30 to 60 seconds would be ideal, but do that regularly every hour and that’s as simple as it gets. Obviously I’d like you to do more and get your heart rate moving faster and actually using your muscles and that does then, that pertains more to exercise programs, which is not my forte, it’s probably more you’re forte, Heidi, but just movement, no matter how well I’ve set up someone’s work station with the best products, the best postures, if you don’t move, I can guarantee you’ll get pain.

H – Yeah, without a doubt.

H – No doubt.

K – Yeah. So why is right now an exciting time for ergonomics, tell me what do you see happening, what are the trends, I say trends because it is in a sense the trend that is going on, but I don’t mean it in a fad kind of way, ’cause it is definitely not a fad, it is something that is here to stay and is so important for us all to incorporate into our daily lives, so why has it become so exciting and top of mind right now?

K – It’s so exciting because so the wellness industry at the moment is worth $4.3 trillion. So, we know that wellness is important to people because it’s huge. Not, and I don’t mean wellness just from going to a hotel and going to a spa, I mean literally which actually is nice, I’d like to do that, but it’s literally all-encompassing. So financial wellness, make sure that people are educated on how to save money and make sure they are well in that sense, physical wellness, mental, obviously mental health wellness, and what we’re doing with ergonomics, so, I think ergonomics is an exciting time at the moment, because wellness is so big and ergonomics is just such a natural feature of any wellness or wellbeing program. And people are talking about it now actually, people are much more aware of ergonomics. When I walk into workplaces, actually everywhere around the world, people understand that they should be sat in a good ergonomic chair, they should be working with good tools, and they should be navigating that workplace properly and they’re learning more about movement, so I think we are more aware now than even 10 years ago when I first started in the industry, so that’s exciting and just the fact that we’re talking about wellness as a general rule is just really exciting as well.

H – Yeah, I mean it really is, I mean, I certainly, having watched what’s gone on over the last decade especially, where it was such a kind of airy fairy type thing again, well, yeah, we’ll do that, we’ll put a fruit bowl in the kitchen, but really bringing in professionals who can do strategy work to ensure that we’ve got proper KPIs around what we’re wanting to achieve and then working back from those on how we’re going to achieve them, I mean it is an exciting time for anyone working in this field, definitely. So—

H – Yeah, you should be, because everybody wants you to work with them. Very impressive. So tell us, with everything you get to see across, globally you see so many different organizations, you’re doing so many different things and no doubt, when you go in there to educate them, you’re probably learning things as well from what people are doing. And you’re seeing the way people do things differently across the globe. What do you think the number one thing you’re seeing or the number one tip you’ve got to give our listeners, our watchers, our audience on how to improve their kind of productivity and performance in a workplace around this field of ergonomics?

K – I think the main one, just because it’s so relevant is, how we use technology, so how we set up our laptop, our iPads, our phones. So, if you are working with one of those devices for long periods of times as your main computer, just make sure you set that up. So if you’re using a laptop, honestly, if you’re going to be using your laptop more than an hour, just don’t bother using it without any accessories. Because you are going to put yourself in so much danger with your body and you’ll harm, I’m looking at you, Heidi.

H – I know. As of tomorrow I’m going to do that get up.

K – So, right now, I can’t show you, ’cause my laptop is actually on my laptop stand, but I have a laptop stand that folds and I have a small keyboard, which is just a mini keyboard like this, really small one and a mouse. Carry those three items with you when you’re traveling or working at a desk and at least then you’ll be able to set up your laptop in a way that forces a better posture. It’s not going to be perfect, because you still want to move regularly and you’re impacted by the environment, but if you could at least do that, at least get your laptop and iPad up to a level, so make sure a laptop, the top of the screen is at eye level and your keyboard and mouse close, if those three things are inline, then that’s just better than it was before.

H – Yeah, okay. But I mean it’s great advice which you have given me before. And I’m going to sort that out tomorrow.

K – Am I going to have to fly to Australia and actually give you a laptop kit?

H – I think you might have to do that, Kirsty, definitely.

K – Done.

H – Now, you know that I am very passionate about creating resilient organizations where the organization and its people are resilient to change uncertainty and stress which is what we all are experiencing in these ever changing times. I’d love to know from a personal point of view what you do habitually to ensure that, as a leading professional, as an influencer in your industry, who is getting, you’re having to fly around the world, you’re getting, you’ve got an amazing online course which I want to talk about. There’s so much going on, and you could be spending 20 hours a day, head down, bottom up, immersed in work, but of course that would, what I say, what that does is it kind of forms rusty holes in our resilience bucket, which kind of holds all our strengths and capabilities so what are you doing to keep that resilience bucket of yours strong and sturdy on a habitual, in a habitual way?

H – A few things actually and I definitely learn from you, Heidi, all the time, about making sure my health and wellness is very high, obviously, it’s not perfect all the time. That’s just life. But there’s definitely things that I do. So, I definitely exercise, I don’t do it everyday, but I exercise four times a week, I definitely stretch everyday though, because I just naturally have a weakness in my lower back, in my left side of my hips in my lower back so, because I know that I have a slight weakness there, if I don’t stretch daily, it will just hurt. So, and I don’t like pain.

K – It’s a good likely little bell to say, oh actually, that’s right, I’m supposed to do that though.

K – So, I always make sure I exercise and stretch weekly. I’m not a very good sleeper. So I try to do things that make me a better sleeper and those things include reading a book before bed or listening to a podcast and just kind of making my environment a bit more comfortable and soothing.

H – Kirsty, I’m going to stop you right there. Are you doing the most crucial thing that we have discussed a number of times to help you sleep better?

K – Heidi, my phone is no longer near me in my bedroom when I sleep.

H – Oh my goodness. Yay! No, well done.

K – So, I don’t have it outside my room, but it’s not on my bed, or on my shelf next to me, it’s the other side of the room.

H – Yeah, okay, I’m very impressed with that.

K – Yes.

H – So during your insomnia periods, you can’t just go, ah, I’ll just have a look, I’m awake, I’ll scroll, you don’t do that anymore.

K – I just leave it there now and try and sleep better.

H – I am so proud of you.

K – Yes, I know! Honestly, that was a big thing, because I really was not sleeping well and mainly because my adrenaline is always so high, because I’m so passionate about ergonomics and helping people, but, I have to be healthy and so, definitely exercise, try and sleep better, but for me personally, my resilience bucket gets filled when I travel and that might seem counter intuitive, because I travel so much with work, but when I’m in the air on a plane I can literally just look out of the window and just contemplate or just, actually, I maybe don’t even think. I just sit there and kind of don’t really think about anything, watch the sky and watch the sunrise and that for me gives me just that ability to just go, and relax, there’s no distractions, I don’t have people wanting to talk to me or needing me, I just sit there and just look outside at the beauty, which sounds really cheesy, but honestly, that’s truth.

H – Well, I mean, that describes the third part of my resilience backup formula which is to chill out. And then enjoy it, right, without devices, you’re just chilling out and you’re just hanging out, so brilliant.

K – It’s gotta be done.

H – It’s gotta be done. This is the “Wine And Wisdom” show, so I know it is morning time and you’re not drinking wine, well it could, it looks like a really bad Rose actually. But I’d love to know, what is your most memorable wine experience? And why is it?

K – Yeah, I was thinking about this and it has definitely got to be, so before I moved from living in Australia, back to the UK, a couple years ago, I went with my friends to Hunter Valley, in the wine region, obviously. Went there for the weekend. And us girls, we hadn’t spent time together for a few months, just us girls, no one else, so we got into the car, drove to Hunter Valley and we just spent two full days drinking wine, eating amazing food, chatting away about life and gossiping about different things and it was so fun and the weather was beautiful and yes, I look definitely back at those times fondly. And we definitely brought a few bottles of wine home with us.

H – As you should, to help the communities, yes. Your responsibility.

K – Exactly.

H – That sounds wonderful. And there is nothing like sharing food and stories and wine with great friends, I mean that is a beautiful thing to be able to do.

K – Oh my gosh, absolutely. But you know what, I bought a bottle of wine for my dad, I brought, I managed to get it all the way back to the UK, it was a really expensive bottle of wine and I said, Dad, we’ll have these on a special occasion, but it’s yours and found out the other day that he, went and drank that wine.

H – Without you?

K – Without me.

H – Oh my goodness. Not nice.

K – He’s not getting a Christmas present from me this year.

H – No.

K – No, I’m kidding.

H – Well I’m going to, I just have one more question before I end with my favorite last question, I know that you have a very exciting online program that is launching this week, is that right?

K – Yeah.

H – Yeah. Tell us a little bit about that and why you felt that you needed to put this online program together and who can it help?

K – So yeah, I’m so excited. So it’s launching officially in two days on March 5th, you can subscribe at the moment if you want to, if you want to go to poisedpeople.com you can type in your email and subscribe and you’ll be the first to know about it when it comes out in two days, but I only have a certain number of hours per day, so when I’m working with clients, I’m usually in an office between kind of 8:00 a.m. and five or 6:00 p.m. and I’m training people, I’m doing assessments and I’m working with leaders to build strategies but I only have that certain amount of time in the day to do that, and so I can only work with a certain number of people. And I felt that I’m so passionate about ergonomics and I’m so passionate that it’ll help so many more people, that why couldn’t I bring that knowledge and put it online, so that you as a human being can access it wherever and whenever you want to. So this course really is for people who are working on devices in an office environment and it talks about ergonomics, how to get your bodies into neutral postures and how to do that in different places, whether that’s at home, when your commuting with work or in the car, traveling in the office or a co-working space and how we can think about what products to use. I talk about products, what you should be looking for, just all-encompassing ergonomics, but in a very simple way to learn.

H – Oh wow, I mean it sounds incredible and is there a type of organization that it’s best for it or is it a type of person, who is it best for?

K – It’s best for people who are working on devices and want to put themselves into a better position when they’re working and are concerned about their bodies, yeah, as an individual, as an individual, absolutely, but I’m feeling very fortunate about a couple of corporates have bought the course for all of their employees as well, so, if you are a corporate and you’re a leader, you can absolutely buy the course for all of your employees, and they have access then to all the modules, it’s self-paced, so you can have access to it and go through it in a day or go through it over a week, depending on what your schedule’s like. So it’s really for anybody who works in an office environment.

H – Yeah, fabulous. Oh, I can’t wait to see the course and—

K – It’s so exciting.

H – Yeah, and congratulations by the way on putting it together and I know that you will just make such a difference to so many people and prevent pain, prevent injury and improve performance and productivity and that’s, what more can you ask for, and ergonomist, that is, to get to do that, it would be very fulfilling.

K – I just wanted to create a community around it, so how do we get more people talking ergonomics and their bodies as a group together, because I’ll have some answers for you, but if, Heidi, you’re in the group and you’re talking about things, you might go, hey guys, I found this really cool chair that I’ve been sitting on this week and I want to let you know about it. So, people can now share their own stories as a community with it as well.

H – Yeah, it’s wonderful, and thanks for sharing it with the world, all your expertise.

K – No problem, I’m excited.

H – So I want to end with one more question, Kirsty. We are on the “Wine And Wisdom” show, so we’ve talked about wine, now I want to talk about the most impactful piece of wisdom that has been passed onto you, what it is, and what a difference it has made for your life.

K – It’s a big question, I think, what I thought about most though was, I don’t know who told it me or where I learnt this saying from, but it was, “You can learn from everybody you meet, “as long as you take the time to listen”. So, we’re kind of rushing around all the time, certainly I do and you do, we meet, I meet people every single day and sometimes hundreds of people a week and we can get lost in those conversations, lost in those interactions and forget about them, but actually, each interaction can teach us something, it can either teach us something about ourselves, or teach us something, educate us on something broader, but often we don’t listen enough. So, I really, since learning that and it’s been a few years now since learning that saying, I do try and every connection or interaction I have with someone, I really try and take it in and I’ll, when I’m traveling home or commuting home, I’ll write it in my notebook and say, oh that was really cool, that was really interesting. So yeah, if you take the time to listen, you can learn from everyone you meet.

H – Oh I love that. And it’s so true, because we, no matter where we are within our professional life or personal life, if you think that you’ve learned everything, you’ve got to know then you just become stagnant and don’t move forward, but if you kind of have this beginner’s mindset where you are just curious about what you can still learn in life, then you will continue to move forward and adjust and evolve as the world adjusts and evolves.

K – Absolutely, absolutely,

H – Kirsty, thank you so much for being on our show tonight. It’s been so wonderful to talk to you and understand a little more about the world of the traveling ergonomist and I’m going to put your different links in the show notes. I know you’ve also got a really good free e-book on just how to Google ergonomics programs, so we’ll pop that in as well for any organizations who would like to get started with something, we’ll also include all your contact details so that if anyone would like to just even ask you a question, they can be in contact with you.

K – Definitely, please do, honestly, it’s the favorite part of my job, is connecting with people, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, connect with me and send me a message definitely.

H – Well, thank you very much, thank you to all our audience, we actually cannot see them, I’ve just realized—

K – I know.

H – Oh and this new fancy pants platform that I’ve got, I can’t see if anyone’s made a comment, so I do apologize and I’m going to find out how to do that before the next program. But we will go in and we will answer anything that has been posted for you, so please any questions, let us know, we’ll get back to you as soon as we’re off of this live recording. And you will be able to get this live recording with the transcription and all the different links in one week’s time, I’ll post it on my Facebook page again. So thank you again, Kirsty, thank you to everybody who’s here tonight, and everyone who’s watching later on.

K – Bye, thanks Heidi, see you.

H – Bye.

About Kirsty Angerer:

Kirsty Angerer aka The Travelling Ergonomist is passionate about educating the world on the subject of ergonomics and human factors.

She is a Certified Professional Ergonomist, Fitwel Ambassador, WELL Movement Concept Advisor and self-confessed nerd.

In a world where we are campaigning for mental health awareness, creating sugar taxes to minimise the obesity crisis and lining the streets about climate change it is staggering that ergonomics and human factors, the very science that impacts how humans interact with their environment has yet to be fully in the limelight.

Whilst ergonomics is a preventative based discipline where we look to design issues out from the get go, Kirsty believes that there is an inherent opportunity to enhance people’s performance. Rather than just surviving the workday, how can we encourage people to thrive.

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