Post 259 – by Gautam Shah
We take postures to work and relax. Between these two ends we take many transitory postures. Even within each, there many incidental or micro positions that re-establish balance, regenerate blood circulation, adjust fluid balance, reset the body rhythms and facilitate sensorial perceptions. These body portrayal are accompanied by voluntary and involuntary gestures. Gestures are revelations that aid communication, and often reduce the need for re-posturing.
Work consists of several tasks in a continuum, which require major body movements, shifting of one or few limbs, and small changes such as the head or eye ball movements (for reading, seeing, smelling, sensing, etc.). Work-task related postures occur mostly to manipulate objects, handle tools and for holding. A task is efficiently carried out in certain positions that is an absolute need for it, or to continue the previous postural adaptation. The absolute needs result from factors like comfort, body position, intra-personal communication, supervision or observance, and reach or access to facilities. Tasks occur in a continuum, so for comfort and for economy of effort, not only the work-tasks but incidental tasks for relaxation, diversion, expression and communication are conducted from the same location, position and using the same facilities-amenities setup.
Ergonomics considerations ensure that ‘designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimize the effects of their limitations’. A good design covers variable capacities of task handling of people of different race, sex physique, cognitive abilities, experience, expectations, motivation and restrictions of age, sickness, boredom and fatigue.
Work-task execution must allow one to improvise the postures, as it allows improved cognition and better blood circulation. Small and temporary variations in postures help in conducting intra-personal relationships, expression and communication. Posturing is a set of three body activities, occurring for the Main action and just before as well as after it.
The preceding actions are preparatory to main action, to overcome the resistance, look for the sufficiency of space and clarity of direction for the range of movements to occur, look for the required supports and energize the body to gain the momentum and balance. Preparatory action also involves observing everything in the sensorial field, co-workers, tools, equipment and environment.
The main action relates to the intended set of tasks. In case of regular work, the routines are defined as algorithms, so there are no surprises, but a new desk, chair or machine involves actual or mental trial-runs. These trials involve the nature of postures, range and reach of actions. After this, comes the main action, where first few routines are conscious ones, of being aware of the environment, space features and people. These may not require any exclusive postures, but gestures. In case of routine work this may not be very obvious phase.
The concluding action of a task is the regaining the balance and allowing sufficient flow of body fluids to those limbs or body sections that will be used now. One may need temporary support till fluid balance is achieved. Usually concluding tasks, after the main action includes organizational efforts, such as house keeping, storing, cleaning, personal grooming, etc. These are intermediate tasks requiring short duration posturing. But as these are different routines from the main work, provide diversions that may not be liked by everyone.