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  • Writer's pictureEmma

Are we having to think too hard?

I recently spoke about cognitive ergonomics at a conference on fatigue run by Vitality 360 . In my experience, most people believe ergonomics to be about a physical fit - sometimes narrowing it down to just sitting at a desk (do a Google search for ergonomics and see what images come up!). Ergonomics however is much more than just physical; the subject of ergonomics is extremely broad (I did a three year Master's degree in it and only touched the surface). Ergonomics is essentially about getting the best fit between everything we as humans come into contact with to reduce the effort placed on us. This could be equipment, systems, the environment etc. As an occupational therapist, understanding the cognitive relationship between us and everything we come into contact with is of particular relevance and so I am always considering how simple something is to use, or how intuitive something might be. In the workplace this is very relevant, particularly if someone has a health condition or injury that impacts on their cognitive functioning such as memory, attention or processing skills. For people with chronic fatigue all their cognitive functions are affected and so simplifying aspects of their job role to reduce the need for prolonged attention, remembering things, or making complex decisions can help them to remain in work. If we can just make things cognitively simpler at work it can actually help all of us.

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