Is your workspace assisting you in working and being successful, or is it obstructing you? Studies have shown that ergonomic design in your workspace, whether at the office or at home, can not only reduce injury and pain but boost your productivity and overall satisfaction as well. To increase productivity, I installed ergonomics in my office space.
The following tips are curated to help you adapt to the ideal ergonomic workspace, whether at home or at work. We look at all the best practices and workstation equipment you should use right now to avoid serious health issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries. Let us get started.
The most important piece of the ergonomic workspace puzzle is locating a suitable ergonomic office chair. According to research, an estimated 50% of people in the developed world suffer from some form of back pain, with many of these cases being related to poor seat design. Spending 8 to 15 hours per day in a less-than-ideal chair invites all kinds of problems down the road, such as back and neck pain.
There are numerous ergonomic chair options on the market, many of which use the term “ergonomic” loosely or even dishonestly. If you are suffering from pain and strain at work, finding a good chair is as important – and as difficult – as finding a good mattress. To keep away my body from pain, I prefer good-quality of ergonomics in my office space.
Look for the following features in your ideal office chair:
Your feet should be flat on the floor and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. If you need a taller chair to reach a too-high desk, use a footrest to achieve the proper leg angle.
An office chair that reclines and tilts with tension control is essential for reducing stress in your spine. According to studies, reclining your seat relieves pressure on your back and is especially beneficial for people who suffer from back pain. Look for chairs with synchronous tilt that can recline at least 135 degrees back.
The backrest should be shaped naturally to support your lower back. If your chair does not provide adequate lumbar support, consider using a lumbar support pillow.
It is ideal to choose chairs that have adjustable seats. Adjust your chair’s height so that your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Use a footrest if your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor, or if the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair. If you do not have a footrest, try a small stool or a stack of sturdy books instead.
Suitable armrests are often overlooked. It is important to consider chairs with armrests that can pivot inwards to support the entire length of your forearm when performing certain tasks, such as keyboarding.
Look for a chair with a comfortable amount of cushioning: it should be supportive without being too firm. Look for fabrics that are breathable or mesh.
The greater the adjustability of a chair, the more likely it will work for you. Invest in a high-quality ergonomic office chair that incorporates all the best practices for a comfortable ride even after extended use.
If you have office-based work, it is understood that your desk is the focal point of your workplace. There are numerous desk designs available, each with its own unique shape, cut-out areas, and height.
The most important aspect of your desk from an ergonomic standpoint is its height. A too-high desk will strain your forearms as you type, whereas a too-low desk will cause you to hunch over, straining your back and shoulders.
If you sit with your feet flat on the floor, your legs should fit comfortably under the desk: there should be enough space to cross your legs.
The ability to adjust the desk height throughout the day is just as important as the proper desk height. Changing your posture throughout the day not only combats fatigue but also aids in the prevention of repetitive motion injuries. Therefore sit-stand and adjustable-height desks have become so popular.
Another significant advantage of adjustable-height desks is the ability to alternate between sitting and standing. It has been scientifically proven that sitting all day increases the risk of high blood pressure, back injury, and even death. Spending your entire working day standing can be exhausting and potentially harmful, so being able to switch between the two postures is ideal.
If you are not ready to replace your current desk with an adjustable one just yet, consider purchasing an Adjustable Desk Riser to modify the height of your existing desk for comparable results. I’m happy to get adjustable ergonomics in my office space.
If you are experiencing pain and fatigue at the computer, monitor placement may not be the first thing that comes to mind. A poorly placed monitor can cause neck and shoulder pain, headaches, and other symptoms that you may attribute to your chair or desk. When it comes to monitor placement, the following are the most important things to remember:
Position your monitor approximately 20 inches in front of you, or at arm’s length. Too close will strain your eyes, while too far away will cause you to slouch forward to read what is on the screen.
Your monitor should be positioned at a 10-to-20-degree angle. A greater angle will force you to hold your head at an awkward angle, causing neck strain.
Your screen’s top line should be at or below eye level. Headaches and neck pain can result from tilting your head back to read your monitor.
Do not forget about your eyes. Blue light emitted by all electronic devices with screens has been linked to eye fatigue, Macular Degeneration, and even blindness. Fortunately, this is an area where technology can help. If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or smartphone, use computer glasses with a blue light filter to keep harmful light from entering your eyes.
4. Keyboard and Mouse
It is especially important to get the placement and angle of your mouse and keyboard right, which may necessitate replacing your current devices with more ergonomic ones in some cases. Many office workers have tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other repetitive strain injuries because of poorly designed keyboards and mice or poor positioning.
Consider the following points when setting up your keyboard and mouse:
The location of your keyboard is determined by your sitting posture. Your elbows should be at your sides instead of behind or in front of you. As a result, place your keyboard in front of you at a distance you can comfortably reach with your elbows at your sides.
If your keyboard has a number pad, ensure that it is centred on the letters rather than the entire keyboard. Your navel should be in front of the letter B.
A slight negative angle of about 15 degrees should be present on the keyboard. To put it another way, the keyboard should be angled away from you rather than toward you.
Unfortunately, most traditional keyboards are completely flat, with two little feet that tilt the keyboard towards you, causing you to type with flexed wrists, which eventually leads to strained wrists and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Consider using an ergonomic keyboard or keyboard tray to achieve the necessary negative tilt that keeps your hand and wrist in a neutral position while typing.
Again, the correct height of your keyboard and mouse is determined by your posture and desk height. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor, and your wrists should be straight, not bent. If your desk is too high, you can use a keyboard tray or drawer to raise your keyboard to the proper height.
If your fingers and wrist hurt after a long day of typing, consider investing in an ergonomic keyboard. Most ergonomic keyboards tilt away from you, with the keys angled inwards to match the natural angle of your wrists at rest.
Computer mice come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Consider an ergonomic mouse that is contoured in the right places to eliminate unconscious gripping and tension in your fingers, which can lead to nerve pain and injury. A vertical mouse that mimics a handshake when held is more ergonomic than a horizontal mouse for some people because it eliminates the need to twist your wrist when operating it.
What about Laptops?
At work, increased employers are replacing old desktop computers with laptop computers. While laptops are sleek and portable, they can also make the good ergonomic design more difficult. Getting your monitor at the proper height can cause the keyboard to be too high, while typing at the proper height can force you to hunch over an excessively low monitor. It can also be difficult to achieve a good negative angle on the keyboard.
There are numerous ergonomic accessories available to assist you in this situation. If you are primarily interested in improving your typing angle, a good bed tray or laptop stand is your best bet. You can also elevate the laptop with a stand and connect an external keyboard to optimise the distance between the monitor and the typing surface.
We hope that this article has provided you with plenty of ideas for making your office space more ergonomic. Remember that a few simple changes can make a significant difference. Modern furniture or accessories can significantly improve employees’ lives. Every employee wishes “I’ll get good ergonomics in my office space”.
If you own a business, we recommend reaching out to your employees first. Inquire about their pain points and what can be done to improve the efficiency of their working environment.