5. Phone Work… essential tips

5. Phone Work … essential tips
• Avoid cradling the phone handset
• Avoid planting your elbow while holding the phone
• Position the phone for easy reach
• If you’re on the phone a lot, use a headset
Phone Work - Avoid cradling the phone
Cradling the phone between your head and shoulder to free one hand to write or use
the keyboard or mouse is one of the most stressful postures you can put your body
through while doing office work. Routinely cradling the phone can cause WMSDs
of the neck and shoulder and it can also play a roll in hand / wrist problems by
compressing nerves in the neck region that travel to the hands.
If you find yourself doing this a lot, try using a headset or speakerphone!
Ergo Fun Fact
A major ergonomic study involving 650 office workers tracked over a 3 year period
found phone cradling to be a more common risk exposure for developing WMSDs
than awkward postures while using the computer.
Phone Work - Avoid cradling the phone
Try the TLC technique to avoid cradling the phone
Take notes
When on the phone with a customer or coworker, try to avoid researching
excessive information on the computer or in hardcopy files. This often leaves
you with only one hand free and the phone cradled on your shoulder. Instead,
take notes, get the key information you need to do your research and advise the
person that you will follow up with them with a return phone call or via email.
Look up / Locate
Look up the information on your computer or locate the hardcopy file and do
your research with both hands free and without being tethered to the phone.
Call back
When you’ve got the information on hand and/or solved the problem,
promptly return the call or better yet, send them an email.
The TLC technique can help reduce your daily dosage by as much as an hour per day.
Use it wisely- you don’t want to aggravate your customers or coworkers.
Phone Work - Avoid planting your elbow
Another common problem associated
with phone use is planting an elbow on a
hard surface while on lengthy calls.
This puts pressure on a sensitive nerve
in the elbow- your “funny bone” nerve.
Habitual planting the elbows can
damage this nerve and cause a loss of
function in your hand.
If you find yourself doing this a lot,
try using a padded rest to lean on, or
better yet, try a headset to eliminate the
need to hold the handset.
Phone Work - Use a headset
The use of a telephone headset is recommended
for anyone who frequently uses the phone,
particularly for long intervals or long daily dosages
(> 3 minutes at a time or > 3 hours over the day).
A headset allows you to free both hands to write,
key or use your mouse and eliminates the need to
plant your elbow to support your phone arm.
Many people resist using a headset because it
messes their hair, feels awkward or it tethers them
to their desk. Fortunately, many newer headset
devices are small, lightweight, cordless and some
even allow you to answer the phone while away
from your workstation.
Considering the risks involved in not using one, a
headset is certainly worth a try.
Phone Work - Use a headset
Notice how simple, easy and relaxed
it looks to use a phone headset while
working at the computer.
- No bent heads/necks
- No twisted or contorted trunks
- No planted elbows
Even their hair looks good!
The cost of beauty
Phone Work - Position phone for easy reach
If you frequently use the phone on the job, it should be
positioned close enough to your body to reach without
bending your trunk forward.
Most people prefer the phone to the left of the computer
so they can grasp it with the left hand, keeping the right
hand free for writing or keying. Left-handed persons
might prefer it on the right.
If your job entails making lots of outgoing calls, placing
the phone on the right can be helpful for dialing with
your right hand. Left handed persons are likely to prefer
it on the left for outgoing calls.
Phone Work - Position phone for easy reach
If you frequently use the phone at your job and you’re using a keyboard
tray, you might find the phone too far from your body to reach comfortably.
If that’s the case, try bringing the phone to the front edge of the worktop.
If surface space is not available, you might try using an adjustable phone
tray to bring it closer to your body.
Phone Work - Position phone for easy reach
Phone at front of worktop
when a keyboard tray is used
Phone on shelf right above
the mouse in this corner
In both of these photos the phone is placed close
to the persons sitting position for ease of reach.
Phone Work - Position phone for easy reach
At this reception station, the person
handles 2 multi-line phone sets.
In order to create a comfortable reach,
the person uses a small side table to
bring them in close.
Note, the receptionist also uses a
headset to avoid the risk of cradling a
handset for this phone-intensive work.