‘Stretching the Truth’ The Truth About Workforce Stretching

This archived webinar originally aired September 20th, 2017.

“A webinar for Ergonomics Professionals who field both the praise and criticism association with Workforce Stretch & Flex Programs. We’ll provide the background, resources and experience to help you navigate this hotly contested topic with an up-to-date perspective, a discerning clarity and a sharpened focus.”

The current trend toward Workforce Stretch & Flex Programs is not so new. Characterized as unnecessary, irrelevant and even harmful by at least one commercial ergonomics vendor, there’s a more time-honored side to consider. Some critics have even gone so far to misrepresent research to build their paper-thin case that’s flimsy, at best.

We’ll address the true conclusions of that misrepresented research, how it is actually being appropriately applied to benefit employers and their workforce, and the promising published data about the future of Workforce Stretch & Flex. Lastly, we’ll take a historical look at practices and truths we hold to be self-evident, and why it is important to confront spurious challenges when they arise in the marketplace of ideas.

While this webinar's content primarily deals with industrial and manufacturing environments, the principles can be applied to all workforces.

This webinar will be beneficial to:

  • EHS professionals who work in office and industrial ergonomics, such as CSP’s, Ergonomists, Safety Committee Members, Industrial Hygienists, Industrial Engineers, Safety Engineers and appropriate EHS student populations.
  • Healthcare practitioners who work in office and industrial ergonomics and are called on to address workplace injury situations, such as PT’s, OT’s, LPTA’s, COTA’s, CHT’s, RN’s, ATC’s, NP’s, DC’s, MD’s, PA’s, and appropriate healthcare student populations.
  • HR professionals who work in office and industrial ergonomics who address common situations posed by Workforce Stretch & Flex Programs, including SPHR’s, PHR’s, Claims Managers, HR Managers, Wellness Coordinators, MPH and CHES designees and appropriate HR student populations.

EHS, healthcare and HR attendees of this webinar will better understand and appreciate:

  1. The observed benefits of Stretch & Flex Programs including costs, communication, engagement and supervision.
  2. The claimed detriments of Stretch & Flex Programs including workforce performance, injury and productivity.
  3. The history and universality of Stretch & Flex Programs including professional athletic applications, collegiate athletic applications, Armed Forces applications and ancestral applications including yoga and the martial arts.

This course is currently pre-approved for Continuing Education CEs by the BOC and COPSKT. The Back School is also an AOTA Approved Provider (#4849) and is authorized to offer AOTA  1 contact hour for this class. AOTA Classification Codes: Category 1: Domain of OT & Category 2: Occupational Therapy Process. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA

This and many of our courses are currently or have in the past been pre-approved for continuing education credit by most state PT boards. Other specialties/professional disciplines should be able to submit for individual credit but it is important for you to contact your state licensing board or professional credentialing board for information regarding policies and the amount of continuing education credits allowed for online courses.

Our presenter is Matt Jeffs DPT PSM CEAS -

Dr. Jeffs is a safety management advisor for national and international firms, and a seasoned ergonomics educator here at The Back School. Years ago, he excelled as a big-wave surfer and seasoned ocean lifeguard with numerous documented rescues prior to earning both his undergraduate and doctorate degrees in physical therapy. He now serves as a Tai Chi Fitness Instructor in multiple settings, including the modern workplace.   

Dr. Jeffs will apply his unique, long-term perspective to this undeservedly contentious trend, offering insight on how to make it work for the most people possible. We hope you will join us for this interesting and engaging topic. If you’re working in a setting with - or contemplating starting a Workforce Stretch & Flex Program, you won’t want to miss it.

Matt Jeffs, PT, DPT, CEAS II

Matt Jeffs, PT, DPT, CEAS II
Overview – The ‘Why’
My varied background has informed and inspired me to be an agent of positive change. When confronted with outmoded delivery models which deliver – at best – inefficiency and ineffectiveness, I’m drawn to employ my creative potential and strive to deliver more. Part of this is out of a sense of social justice and compassion for our common humanity. Part is also to serve as the change I wish to see in the world. Every day is another opportunity to leave an enduring legacy. One that positively inspires those who follow us. My goal is to spend my remaining days here on earth doing just that.

Summary – The ‘How’
My combination of seasoned skill in public speaking, broadcasting and leadership with award-winning clinical excellence in sports, orthopedics and industrial medicine has been the foundation of my career success. This skill-set allows me to provide positive, verifiable work-injury reduction and risk mitigation from corporate clientele to clinical providers. It’s accomplished by serving business-to-business, business-to-provider and business-to-consumer formats.

In my leadership role with the First Coast Manufacturers Association as its Workforce Education Director, I served as Consultant to the FCMA Board of Directors. Here, I provided this powerful industrial trade consortium of some 300 manufacturers and North Florida companies with sound advice in workforce optimization and cost containment strategies.

Armed with two professional clinical degrees in physical therapy and licensed in two states (FL and NC) with over 25 years of clinical and management experience, I have directly overseen the successful rehabilitation of >23,000 individuals in the clinical setting. As a Lean Practitioner equipped with over 12,000 hours of direct onsite experience serving clients in corporate and industrial settings, I apply continuous improvement methodology to all onsite projects and processes.

Corporate leaders and academic colleagues seek me out for sound advisement and reliable solutions to the evolving patterns of a fluid, dynamic workplace. As such, I am regularly sought to address colleges, universities, professional associations, trade groups and executive summits to convey my philosophy and applications for successful injury prevention, cost-reduction and workforce performance improvement.

Principal Faculty at The Back School – The ‘What’
Serving as Principal Faculty at The Back School (TBS), I draw directly on the FCMA Workforce Education Director role mentioned above. In that past role, I worked with local colleges and universities to better prepare student skill sets for high paying advanced manufacturing careers. Presently, I arrange for TBS Ergonomics Course attendees to gain hands-on assessment experience at technical colleges in the Southeast. We no longer simply lecture. We now immerse our students.

At FCMA, my tasks included directing  their Workforce Development Committee, which focused Human  Resources Managers on common issues facing manufacturers. In this past role, I developed top onboarding, workforce education and training programs for FCMA member companies. FCMA's Special Interest Groups (SIGs) - such as its Plant Manager Executive SIG - also fell under my Workforce Development Committee duties. This experience gives me ease when addressing senior leadership in corporate clientele on behalf of The Back School as its Principal Faculty.

At FCMA, I also directed the Environmental Health & Safety Committee, a preemptive group charged with identifying harmful issues impacting manufacturers and their surrounding communities. The EH&S Committee emphasized legislative and regulatory issues by forming partnerships with regulators and environmental organizations. In this role, I coordinated relevant workshops and seminars on various issues relating to  EH&S.  Routinely, I arranged  subject matter expert presenters selected from within the association's membership. This practical experience allows me conversant roles with a variety of technical professionals on behalf of The Back School.

Lastly, I oversaw FCMA’s Professional Progress curriculum, a premier 8-month leadership training program I conducted to provide instruction, interaction and discussion skills necessary for leadership success in tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workplace. As Principal Faculty at The Back School, I’m tasked with bringing together leadership personnel from all age groups and industries to cultivate common ground and expedite mutually beneficial, value-added projects.

Onsite Health & Safety Specialist
Both workplace safety factors and workforce health influences jointly contribute to many problems confronting today’s business and industry. Until recently, these two areas were often fragmented and isolated. Safety was handled in the EHS silo, while employee health remained in the HR silo. Prevailing science now supports combining these efforts through initiatives that integrate safety protection and health promotion. Inefficiencies are truncated while benefits compound.

In this sphere of influence, my company Ability On-Demand has been field-tested. Employee participants report positive experiences with better communication and mutual understanding with management. Employers report better workforce relations, improved performance in key indicators, and a shared sense of commitment in corporate culture.

The benefits of a committed willingness to listen to perspectives of front line staff, provide our corporate clientele valuable feedback and workable solutions to operational challenges. Working together to address feasible root cause measures yields compounding dividends. It’s a 21st century business model that's also a great business to be in.

Keynote Speaker & Onsite Therapy Services Consultant
As an onsite industrial Doctor of Physical Therapy with clients throughout the Southeastern US, I provide verifiable, sustainable ROI in direct and indirect healthcare savings to international firms and clinical providers.
This is accomplished through workforce education initiatives, ergonomic analyses, job demand analyses, defined job demand descriptions, legally-defensible job demand capacity evaluations, pre-work screenings, fit-for-work screenings, transitional rapid return-to-work strategies, early intervention onsite first-aid screenings, onsite physical therapy evaluation / treatment, and plant-wide communications in public speaking, audio and video formats.

Meta-Physical Therapy TaijiFit Instructor
As a safety management advisor for national and international firms, I also serve as a Tai Chi Fitness Instructor in multiple settings. From hospital-owned fitness centers to modern industrial workplaces, I apply what I named ‘Meta-Physical Therapy’ to students, faculty and professionals alike. Mind-Body Awareness creates a safer, healthier and more productive work environment in every setting. Applying myself to this important transition is my life’s work, and I hope offering insight on how to make the corporate mind and body work together - for the most people possible - is a goal worthy of us all.

Conclusion – Again, The ‘Why’
As a ‘medical multiculturalist’, I’ve had the pleasure to work closely with the most forward-thinking colleagues who happen to have the following initials after their names: MD; PA; NP; RN; LPN; DPT; LPTA; OTD; OTR, COTA; PhD; SPHR; CSP; DC and many, many more. Every one of these individuals has taught me something. As someone who crosses lines easily into worlds other than my own, I will continue to strive to leave a legacy of excellence through continuous improvement. The positive change I help create is something I’m confident will outlast me. That, is my simple mission.