As Ergonomic Professionals, identifying risk and prioritizing ergonomic problems accordingly is important when doing assessments. And one thing that I encourage every Ergonomic Consultant and Healthcare Professional to do is to incorporate Discomfort Surveys into their ergonomic assessments.
A Discomfort Survey is a practical tool that helps determine, prioritize, and record your client’s ergonomic issues. Making it a part of your ergonomic process will make your assessment so much easier. In this blog, I'll share how you can use Discomfort Surveys to streamline your assessment process and even generate new services.
Basically, it’s a form that your clients would fill out prior to you going in and assessing them. It’s one way of gathering information on the client’s insight regarding their work tasks and ergonomic hazards. Using a Discomfort Survey in your ergonomic assessment is not only a proactive method, but also a great way to assess and monitor your client’s concerns.
There are certain elements that need to be present in your Discomfort Survey. Firstly, your survey must contain basic information about your client, such as what they do; how they spend their day; and what equipment they use. And most importantly, it must include the type of discomfort that they are experiencing when they notice symptoms, and what they think can fix it. Those are the questions that are most valuable and what every discomfort survey should have. It’s very easy to make but it has such a huge upside to it. I definitely recommend that you make your own discomfort survey. I also provide a guide on how to make Discomfort Survey (and a Discomfort Survey that you can use immediately) which we use in Ergonomic Blueprint. So if you want to check that out, you can check it here.
One of the advantages of incorporating Discomfort Surveys in your ergonomic assessments is that it takes a lot less time and effort for you to collect information about your client. So when it’s time for you to do an assessment, you don’t need to collect as much information. You can also take fewer notes during the assessment. If it’s documented in the Discomfort Survey, you can reference it and copy their answers to the client report. It’s time-saving and you can get through your assessment much faster. It just takes a little bit of work in the beginning to make your own discomfort survey and distribute it to your clients before you do an assessment, but there’s such a huge advantage in this. Discomfort surveys allow you to manage your time better, therefore, you can make more revenue. It’s very efficient and effective.
If you want to utilize a survey form, make sure that you distribute it to your clients before you do an assessment. The best way to do that is to email the survey form to your client prior to visiting them so they can fill it out and give it back to you before the assessment begins. For instance, you have an assessment coming up on Thursday, so you want to distribute it at the beginning of the week. Whether you will get it back a couple of days before the assessment or at the day of the assessment, it’s still valuable.
What I usually do when I’m doing an assessment is that I would get the Discomfort Survey back right when I saw the person, whether virtually or in person, and then I would quickly scan the survey form. From that, I can develop my own hypothesis as to what the cause of their discomfort is. This way, you know what to look for even before doing the assessment.
Let’s say someone has shoulder discomfort - all you need to do is focus on what could be causing it. It could be because of stress, or bad posture, or having a non-ergonomic workstation setup. This way, it will save you a lot of time because there’s no need for you to pay attention to every other risk. Also, you’re more prepared before the assessment begins.
A simple Discomfort Survey can help you point out factors within a workplace such as workstation setups, work tasks, and equipment designs that may contribute to their discomfort. Once you have a summary of their answers, you can then devise a hypothesis and come up with recommendations to help improve the ergonomics of their workplace.
This will result in a safer work environment for the workers and improved productivity. And that’s how to fix that problem that they need fixed. They will be satisfied with your work if you address the problem that they have. That's how you generate referrals and build your reputation as an ergonomic consultant. Every person who does ergonomics assessments should really utilize discomfort surveys because it changes how you do your assessments.
In order to lessen the possibility of injuries and discomfort at work, regular office ergonomic assessments are recommended. This presents a great opportunity for us. I recommend that you use Discomfort Surveys when you’re doing a one-on-one assessment, or when you’re prioritizing types of services that your client might need. A one-on-one assessment is a top revenue builder for many Ergonomic Consultants, which includes full ergonomic assessment and a client report.
Although Discomfort Surveys are not necessary for every assessment, it can be the most impactful. In terms of one-on-one assessments, Discomfort Surveys are often used when someone experiences a lot of discomfort or has a compensable injury. There are a variety of services in which you can incorporate survey forms, and you can adjust the questions accordingly. Doing this would bring down the cost for your client, while it opens up some room for you to provide other valuable services.
And that’s it. That’s how you can utilize Discomfort Surveys to streamline your assessment process. I hope you got something of value from this blog. If you want to know how you can add ergonomic services to what you’re already doing professionally, or perhaps you’re already doing ergonomic assessments but you want a better process on how to do it, check out the Ergonomic Blueprint to help you get to where you want to be. Just head on this link.
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