expert interviews Apr 09, 2021
 

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Camille Fraser, founder of ErgoMania, to talk about ergonomic equipment. Ergomania works closely with Ergonomic Consultants to provide the best tools for their clients and help them make informed decisions. 

All About Ergo Equipment: An Interview with Camille Fraser of ErgoMania

One of the major concerns of Ergonomics Consultants wanting to get into the world of ergonomics assessments is that they may know the process, but they can’t keep up with equipment. So I wanted to have Camille because she just happens to be the person that has the goods. In this interview, she offers some advice for ergonomic professionals on how to find the best ergo product and also shares her process for finding out new equipment. Additionally, Camille recommends some products that she personally loves to use for everyone reading this blog. I believe the interview is both entertaining and educational. So join me in this episode!

Ergo Products Are Not “One-fits-all”

When it comes to you and the industry, this idea of weeding through what's good and what's bad is something that you're specifically good at. Is that one of your favorite things that you bring out of everything that you’re doing?

I honestly find a lot of joy in finding new, up-and-coming products and try to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are, what person would benefit the most from it, and who would just not want it at all. I like to really dissect what the products are and figure out what the main clientele for that product would be because products are not “one-fits-all.” So it’s pretty interesting. I like the science behind the products the most, like the “why”.

Are there any trends you've seen in the industry that are really something that you can get behind?

There's a couple that you can get behind. Most of them that are backed up by research, I can really get behind. One example is sit-stand desks. Many professionals have argued with each other on whether or not the sit-stand desks are actually good for people. I do get behind the sit and stand desk, but not for the original reasons they were created—that is just changing your position. That's what they're best at doing. They're not best at increasing your heart rate or anything. But I can definitely get behind the sit-stand movement, that's for sure. 

There are so many trendy tools nowadays, such as sit-stand desks, treadmill desks, or desk converters, that it almost feels overwhelming. How do we know what we should be recommending to our clients?

I find that you would recommend something like a treadmill desk or even sit-stand desk to people that are eager to try it out and actually want to use it. Because if they're not keen to use it at first, then chances are that it's just going to be a regular desk. So it's really about how ready your clients are to move forward and try new things. If they're a little bit more adventurous and like to move a lot, then that's great. The main thing that you should always ask your clients is how willing they are to try something that’s kind of out of the norm. It's a crazy world of products out there, but you can definitely find something that works best for your client. 

You also want to recommend something that's good, too. That's a big part of fixing somebody's problem, right? You don't want to add extra stress if the product that you told them to get is finicky or doesn't work well because you want them to use it. You don't want them to be like, “This isn’t good for me,” and just disregard it right away.

Learn How to Distinguish a Good Ergo Product

Are there any  warning signs that set a good piece of ergonomic equipment apart from, I guess, something that’s more marketing or trendy?

I wouldn’t say warning signs particularly. If anybody's claiming, “Oh, this is a great ergonomic product,” the first thing you should look at is how adjustable it is. Adjustability is a huge thing in the ergonomics world. If that product doesn't have it from the get-go, then I'd be a little worried about it. The marketing people are very good at their job, right? So sometimes, it’s hard to sift through it. Just ask people that have been looking at the products for a while what's best for what.

Jumping back into the trendy equipment that kind of checks all your boxes of having both interesting marketing and good science, is there anything else that comes to mind?

For desks, definitely know what you're looking for as to how much weight you want to put on the desk. It’s an important thing to figure out, especially if it's a sit-stand desk because they do come with different manuals. That's something people sometimes don't really think about, but it's actually a pretty big component if you want it to work properly. 

So I think going back to your warning signs, just know exactly what you want before falling into the whole marketing ploy. Know what you’re using it for, how long do you want to use it for, and what kind of quality you're looking for. I would even suggest writing down exactly what you're looking for before you even start searching. That might help you narrow down your search a little bit. 

What's your process for finding out new equipment and deciding whether or not you’re going to move forward with it?

If it's part of a manufacturer that we already have on board, then they always send me a list of new products that they're going to open with. So I kind of sift through those and ask them a bunch of questions about it. Those are the easiest ones to find and the easiest ones to figure out what's good and what's bad in them because you can ask right away. 

For new products, I sometimes just have a fun time going through Kickstarter. It's good to bounce back the ideas with professionals to other professionals in the business. Sometimes, they think of things that you didn't even think of. So it's really fun to get a lot of people's opinions on the product that aren't really perfect and try to dial it back like, “Is this actually safe? Is this actually a good product?” Also, just going through Google about what's new in Europe kind of thing, or Australia is really good at coming up with new products. So just doing a lot of research on the product.

Is that something that you plan out at the beginning of every month or is it a daily habit?

I would say it's a weekly thing. Just keeping up with things and trying to stay on top of it, contacting the manufacturers and asking them a bunch of questions about the products before actually putting them on the site just to make sure that they're actually good quality.

Recommendation

Out of all the equipment that you've seen, do you have one that you love?

Right now, I'm really loving the Humanscale Switch Mouse because it's adjustable. You don't have to worry about giving it to your client and making sure that it's the right fit because you can adjust it to whatever hand—a small hand or a very large hand. It adjusts itself. It's an angled mouse, too. It decreases the deviation and puts your arm and wrist in a more neutral posture. It's also ambidextrous, so you can switch its sides and make it work for left and right.

I also love compact keyboards. Posturite has a compact keyboard where you can convert into a regular keyboard, so you just pull out the number pad. I find it pretty cool and exciting.

I know you have an ergonomics consultant system for Canada, which you’re bringing up this opportunity where people can email you directly if they have questions. So can you talk a little about that network?

Well, my whole thing about building that website is to make it easier for ergonomists to find products and make it easier for their clients to shop. So just a pain-free process. What I thought about it is having a person that knows exactly what they're selling and what could work and what not. And me having the background in ergonomics also helps ergonomists find the products they want for the clients. So it's just as easy as sending an email like, “I have a person that's this short, is there a chair that could accommodate her? What product would be best for that? Is there a new product on the market that I didn’t think of?” Those are all the questions that are very easy to answer for me because that's what I do—I research a lot of products.

Advertising of Ergo Products

If you were to change anything about the ergonomics industry and how things are being marketed, what would that be?

If you were about to market a product that's ergonomics or anything related to it, if you're even talking about it in your marketing campaign, there should be research about that product or at least some non-biased professionals to try out the product and give the review for that. That would be good for the people to stop from advertising ergonomic products when they really aren’t. The best one would be just every ergonomic product would have to have a reason why it’s an ergonomic product, how to use it best, and who it’s for. Really answer all those questions and that would be the easiest thing to market your product for. 

Key Takeaways

Camille provides us stellar advice about ergonomic equipment. Here are some takeaways to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your physical health at the office:

  1.  With the countless amounts of trendy equipment available in the market today, it can be pretty overwhelming choosing the right tools for your clients. Having said that, it’s important that your clients have this readiness part in your assessment before offering the Cadillac of solutions. Additionally, there are functional ways you can incorporate standing, so you don't always necessarily need to recommend a sit-stand desk or a treadmill desk.
  2. One important thing she said is that we want to fix the problems. We're both very much aligned with the types of solutions that tend to have the most effective outcomes, which is engineering or equipment solutions. So it’s all about bringing that scientific equipment-based, engineering solution to essentially eliminate the ergonomic risk.
  3.  When looking for ergonomic equipment, look for what you want first. Sometimes, you forget what you're originally looking for and go down this rabbit hole of massive research about everything that you might need for your assessments.

And there you have it! If you’re looking for ergonomic products, check Camille’s website.

To learn how I'm helping Ergonomics Consultants grow and scale their businesses, sign up to the waitlist for the Accelerate program. You can get early access to the training series that I'll be doing before the opening of the enrollment!

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