By Alec Lom
As millions of office workers suddenly found themselves locked down and working from home, health ergonomist Nichola Adams’s responded quickly to “pivot” her business to focus on clients facing a new range of challenges.
Nichola, one of Britain’s most experienced back pain and musculoskeletal injury specialists, saw a catalogue of cases that were little more than injuries waiting to happen.
People were using beds and cushy armchairs as makeshift workstations, perching on kitchen stools and one woman even lowered an ironing board to use as a desk.
It soon became clear that homeworking had sparked a national surge in back-pain and injury numbers as well as shoulder and neck complaints which meant Nichola’s services were in greater demand.
“When lockdown happened, I was determined to pivot the business and market our new way of working,” she said. “Experience showed me the best way to concentrate on areas that might have the biggest influence. I made it my business to talk to all our existing and new clients personally, to understand their needs in depth and to deliver to meet these needs. I also made it my mission to go beyond their expectations, delivering above what they expected, but being in the health and wellbeing industry, also to demonstrate our compassion and emotional IQ to those who needed our help.
“At first, we lost thousands of pounds in bookings. The first two months proved extremely challenging. However, we’ve just experienced our biggest and busiest month so far, with 120 workstation assessments being conducted. Next month we are predicting 200. Before lockdown we were doing 40-50.
Amazingly, some people are still working on beds and sofas, unaware there are some very simple, cost-effective solutions
“People’s issues are getting more severe, causing more distress and frustration. The most common problems are shoulder, neck, wrist and lower-back issues, brought on from sitting in awkward postures for long periods.
“Amazingly, some people are still working on beds and sofas, unaware there are some very simple, cost-effective solutions to suit even the smallest of workplaces.”
During lockdown, Nichola and her company, Inspired Ergonomics placed greater emphasis on social media, but her growth has come mostly via word-of-mouth referrals.
Nichola, who has an MSc Masters degree in Health Ergonomics, is one of only 11 specialist Technical Members of The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors. She’s supported a wide range of individuals, often affected by stress and long working hours, be they FTSE 100 CEOs, small business owners, consultants, office-bound employees or hot-deskers.
She became fascinated by the subject of ergonomics after suffering a back injury while tobogganing using a plastic bin liner. She damaged her coccyx, an accident that led to her re-training and developing a lifelong interest in back injury and its prevention.
One of her new clients was so impressed by her services, he extended her role company-wide – a 1,000-strong global philanthropic organisation with 180 staff in London.
More on Nichola Adams here