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 ESS article for mass media

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Ultraman
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PostSubject: ESS article for mass media   Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:40 pm

This column looks hot. Many people write here. I think I should also post my topic here Smile sorry for eating up the space

Yo yo,

I am writing an article in the name of ESS that we would like to send to the media for publication. We are hoping ESS to be on the papers Smile.

The article is titled Design of workplace for elderly. Since government is making us all work longer, I think in another sense, we are designign for our future. So I hope to invite you to add content to the framework. Sounds like WEB 2.0 hor.

Anyway, the content can be research snippets, can be quotation, can be write-ups, Anything. I will contribute and do the editing at the same time. Just do it.

Design of Workplace for Elderly (Office work)

1. Introduction:

- Factual take on the future employment situation in Singapore (i.e. more people need to work longer)

- Elderly at work (e.g. a lot of experience and wisdom from years of working)

- But elderly need to be supported with right working environment in order to be able to perform

- hence, design of workplace for elderly from a human factors perspective is very important



2. Main content different areas where workplace can be designed to suit elderly:

- Function allocation

- Work hours design

- Training for elderly

- Illumination and environment (e.g. temperature) design

- Anthropometry in Workstation (including seat design)

- Ergonomics of computer workstation

- Design of Human Computer Interface

3. Summary and Conclusion
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Ultraman
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:11 am

Lighting is important for an elderly. Poor lighting not only affects the visibility of the tasks, it affects the work posture. In order to compensate for poor vision, a person with myopia (short-sightedness) tends to move closer to the task objects. A person with hyperopic (far-sightedness) tend to do the reverse. It is thus possible that many poor work posture instances at workplace are due to poor lighting.
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Ultraman
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:57 am

Another important which I missed out.
As a person ages, his ability to accomodate (change the thickness of the eye to focus on objects of different distance) deteriorates. This make it more compelling for the workplace to have good lighting.
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Ultraman
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Mon Jul 23, 2007 9:32 am

I have some questions which needs some clarity. Now it feels fuzzy in my mind.

We understand that office equipment and furniture which are not ergonomically designed and which are not properly laid out and used can result in undesirable static posture and awkward movement. And well, this can lead to muscular fatigue and strain. Eventually, it can lead to physically injury such as Repetitive Motion Injury or Cumulative Trauma Disorder.

What feels fuzzy to me still is what additional benefits, if any, do ergonomically-designed equipment and furniture have on elderly? The point is to show that yes, both young and old benefit from having such equipment and furniture. But elderly extract extra benefit. Perhaps due to the changes to muscle or bone structure or mind-muscle coordination. I have not really come across such materials. Does anyone have?
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Ultraman
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:54 am

Elderly workers are not useless over the expiry date goods who get to keep their jobs because employers take pity on them, government policies or because they are willing to accept lower pay. It's time we change that mentally.

It's time that we see elderly workers as valuable resource from which an employer can tap the following:
- experience of dealing with unexpected situations
- strong relationship with clients
- mentorship to the new blood
- faster more efficient ways of working
- foresight in making decision
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Ultraman
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:00 am

In order to get the best out of elderly workers, their job design needs to be given as much priority as anybody else of other age.

These job design issues include:
- Excessive work load
- Repetitive and monotonous tasks
- Unrealistic work expectations
- constant adaptation to new requirements
- lack of meaningful job content
- lack of control over the work
- lack of organizational support
- poor work team relationships

Job design from an elderly person's perspective may reveal very different angles because of how an elderly person psychosocial may change with age. I need material to support this point. Anybody? It's feel pretty quiet here.
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Ultraman
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:19 pm

Just want to jot down some thoughts and some statistics before they flashed through.

As a person gets older, his/her body goes through some muscoskeletal changes. For example, higher chance of developing lower back pain. Arthritis or inflammation of joints. Now these changes do not render an elder person useless. An elderly person still has a lot to offer and these have been reiterated many times. But what it means for the employer is that in order to get the best out of a more senior person, the employer needs to look at the physical design aspect of the workplace.

Here, the physical aspects we talk about the office furniture and seating. How to select suitable seats that better support the workers and help them concentrate on their jobs, instead of on their bodily pains. How to lay out furniture so that people do not have to over-stretch themselves trying to reach for commonly used equipment or tools. Layout of furniture/storage is also important as a good layout will take into account both the need to be productive (access to equipment or items fast) and the need to break from long static posture (make people move their bodies).

Finally, choosing ergonomical furniture and seats does not mean choosing the most expensive chairs. No doubt, if budget is not a constraint, companies can go for the high-end manufacturers like Herman Miller, etc. They have good reputable products and are reliable in their product promise. However, companies who wish to create a workplace with ergonomical furniture at their own budget can still engage an ergonomist or human factors person to select suitably-priced furniture/seats.
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:49 am

Across user groups of different ages, human factors/ergonomics advocate that companies exercise care in selection of software. Interface design can affect the well-being and productivity of users. A good interface should possess the following qualities:

Performance: allow users to perform the tasks efficiently with minimal physical and psychological load.
Reliability: minimise the risk of error and malfunction. The software should allow easy recovery from error.
User friendliness: requires short training time while providing long retention (e.g. remembering function name) time
User satisfaction: make completion a task simple and straightforward for users
Usability: enables users to work effectively and efficiently.

Now, there is a question that remains unanswered. How is an elderly affected by a poor interface? I think I have seen some materials. Just need to dig them out.
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PostSubject: Re: ESS article for mass media   Mon Aug 06, 2007 12:44 am

Was trying to find out the changes to elderly that will affect design of software application/websites. I foudn the following few:

- Older people often suffer from visual impairments, which can make reading text on a computer monitor arduous. Not only is it difficult to read small characters, but also the standard white web page background can prevent them from seeing the contents of a page.

- Onscreen animations can distract older users, placing too much strain on their cognitive capabilities.

- Many older people are also hard of hearing, thus the benefits of audio output are lost.

- With age there is a decline in working memory, which was evidenced from the problems older Web users had remembering which pages they have seen, or how they arrived at the current page.

- Increased age is associated with increased motor noise and slower movements, which could affect the use of scroll bars or image maps.

The good news is older people can adapt. They may respond well to training in complex tasks. Older people are also able to navigate the Web quite well when the sites are properly designed. The immediate implication is, with proper design and training, older people can use websites and software applications quite effectively.
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