Monday, 6 February 2012

Who's giving you a hand?

For many of us, it's not what we do that is hard, it's how much of it there is to get done! 

This message was reinforced to me today after completing a workstation assessment. The desk was piled high with paper.. not in clearly defined stacks, but strewn across and over and around everything else on the desk. My client was complaining of back pain, both upper and lower, neck pain, and just looked plain tired. During the assessment we cleared the desk and reorganised it starting with correct placement of the essential items: monitor at the correct height (it had been too low), keyboard and mouse within close proximity to the client (they had been used with arms outstretched), and phone within easy reach. Due to the high level of paperwork and referencing required, I also created a temporary document holder to stop him from reading his notes from places on his desk that required awkward neck postures.

With the physical aspects of the workstation addressed, we then delved into the matter of workload. My client stayed back at work long after their colleagues had left for the day, didn't take lunch or tea breaks, and felt like he was never on top of things. He showed me his list of things to do that week, which went over a few A4 pages. Taking the list off him, we broke the it down into achievable daily tasks, and wrote them as a check list in his diary for each day. He also realised that many of the tasks on his big long list were actually meant to be done by other people in his team, but he had just taken them on board for some reason or another, and as such become burdened with an unrealistic level of work. A delegation list was developed, and trays arranged on his desk to keep his documentation in organised and easily identifiable locations.

With a clear desk and achievable workload, the relief was evident on my client's face.

Morale of this story:
* Organise your desk so that you don't feel burdened by work before you even start your day
* Make sure your workstation is well set up to prevent physical discomfort at work
* Make sure you are not doing work for other people! Delegate it back to them and focus on doing a good job on your own work
* Break down your to-do list into achievable tasks each day

And feel better!
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