Successful Meetings - June 2008 - (Page 20)

Technology Talk > By Michael Goldstein The Ergonomics Era Meeting planning means stress, whether you’re on the road, on a fam trip, or back at the office trying to catch up. But taking an ergonomic approach can help protect your health— and the health of your delegates—at the office and at meetings. know, so they don’t strain reaching into their pocketbooks. AT THE MEETING SITE: Cords that are not taped down are tripping hazards; check your prospective AV group in action to be sure they don’t cut corners this way. Standing behind the lectern is fatiguing, and a moving speaker keeps the audience alert. Check with the site to see if it has ergonomic seating, and don’t ask delegates to sit still for four hours. Don’t over-schedule; late dinners, drinking, and dancing are fun, but often not the delegate’s usual routine, so allow time for rest and recreation. WHAT IS ERGONOMICS? Ergonomics, also called human factors analysis or human factors engineering, comes from the Greek for “the study of work.” Designers consider ergonomics when deciding how to arrange and design devices, machines, or workspaces so that people and things interact safely and efficiently. Adopting an ergonomic approach means working comfortably and avoiding health issues like back problems and repetitive stress injuries. Meeting sites, from the Hotel Palomar Dallas to the Pullman Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport and the Hilton Antwerp, emphasize their ergonomic approach, such as offering meeting rooms with ergonomic seating. But a healthy work or meeting environment isn’t just about equipment. An easy way to prevent back pain, for example, is to simply get up and stretch every hour or so. While you may hit some resistance, encouraging delegates to stand up and stretch for a minute or two can make a big difference in relieving stress and pressure on the back. TOWARD A MORE ERGONOMIC OFFICE: At the office or at PC stations at your meeting site, you can check for ergonomic factors like proper sitting position, chair adjustment and mobility, keyboard and mouse height, and monitor angle and distance. A North Carolina company, Active Ergonomics, shows what to look for at www. WHEN TRAVELING, EXPERTS SUGGEST: Limit lifting: E-mail those handouts and print them on site, rather than lug them. Just say no to hauling: Rent equipment like data projectors on site, instead of carrying them. Move around the plane if flight attendants let you; if not, at least move your feet and legs. Noise-canceling headsets cut the noise and tune out talkative seatmates. Never carry your luggage: Use curbside check-in at the airport and, when you arrive at your destination after hours of stiffening travel on a plane, use the hotel bellman to save strain. Consider prepaying for bellman services and let delegates For example, reaching up, down, or over to use your keyboard and mouse can put you in a twisted posture. Similarly, the monitor should be more or less level with your eyes, as tilting your head to look up at the monitor can twist your neck. Some ergonomic products, like the famed Herman Miller Aeron chair, which start at $749 at companies like www., are costly. But others offer simple and inexpensive fixes. A monitor riser (which Active Ergonomics sells for $6 each in packs of four) will raise the monitor off the desk an inch or two so you’re looking straight at it, without twisting your neck. Similarly, a vertical-plane document holder (such as a Fellowes model available at Office Depot for $13.99) can reduce muscle fatigue in your neck and shoulders, while also improving productivity and typing efficiency. And just as you use a Bluetooth earpiece for your cell phone, consider a lightweight telephone headset in the office if you make a lot of calls. JUNE 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS ILLUSTRATION: BEATA SZPURA 20

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - June 2008

Successful Meetings - June 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
Planner Spotlight: Kelly Broz
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Websites of the Month
Pre-Event: Tech
Pre-Event: Bartering
Tools of the Trade
Dialing for Dollars
The All-in-One Resort
Bottom-Line Speakers
Places & Spaces
Florida’s West Coast

Successful Meetings - June 2008