Ergonomics is an important and beneficial tool for those who choose to utilize it. While many people recognize this term in the office as related to awkwardly shaped keyboards and overpriced roller chairs, there’s much more to it than that.
Ergonomics is primarily about the health and comfort of those who utilize it. Sitting in an office for hours on end can cause stress and even harm to the body. Implementing ergonomics can alleviate this pain and tension and improve your overall health. Here’s what you should know about improving your office ergonomics, providing a safer workplace, and positioning yourself for success!
What Are Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is the result of keeping in mind the limitations and movements of an individual when designing the area in which that individual will work. Put simply, ergonomics in practice is designing and arrangings items and tools in a way that makes human interaction safe and efficient and therefore safer.
The science behind ergonomics is all about creating an environment that allows your body to position itself and moves about naturally. Regardless of your job, sitting in an unnatural position all day can cause harm to your joints and muscles. Improper lifting techniques or straining yourself to get something off a high shelf multiple times a day are all examples of improper ergonomics. Ergonomics are everywhere, and when you understand the benefits of proper ergonomics, you’ll see why they’re so important and how you should implement them into your daily life.
Benefits Of Ergonomics
There are many benefits to proper ergonomics, specifically for health reasons. When your body moves and sits in a position that is not ergonomically friendly, it can result in stress through awkward positions, extreme temperatures, and repeated movement. Over time this can cause discomfort, fatigue, pain, and even result in musculoskeletal disorders.
Allowing your body to move about naturally is a way to combat these threats and improve overall health for your body. Simple solutions such as lowering or raising a surface height can result in less bending or strain on your back. Poorly made telephone headsets can result in neck strain. Understanding what changes to make can make your office space more ergonomically friendly and provide health benefits to you. Here are some changes you can make!
How To Improve Office Ergonomics
- Regularly adjust your office chair as needed. Your body will tell you when it’s time for a change, listen to it. What’s comfortable in the morning may not be comfortable after lunch.
- Sit with your monitor about 16-29 inches away from your face. This inhibits overexposure to the light and keeps you from squinting to focus.
- Tilt your keyboard so that your arms remain straight while typing. Bending your wrists can cause unnecessary joint fatigue.
- Sit straight up and provide yourself with plenty of lower back support. For cheap chairs with little to no support, consider placing a pillow or cushion between your lower back and the chair.
- Arrange your desk to allow for easy access to anything frequently used. Having to stretch out and reach every time you need a pen can cause injury. This is particularly important. There are numerous stories of employees who have thrown out their backs picking up pens or other small items. This is often the result of tension built up over long periods of time due to unnatural postures. The act of “picking up a pen” is simply the final straw before the body can’t take anymore.
- Don’t hold a phone between your head and shoulder. If you use the phone, hold it to your head with your hand. If you repeatedly use a phone daily, consider investing in a good headset.
Although proper ergonomics can be instituted by using special chairs and other uniquely designed equipment, it’s really about creating an environment that allows your body to move about naturally. Think through your daily routine and ask yourself what causes the most stress on your body. Find a way to remove those issues, and you’re well on your way to improving your office ergonomics and positioning yourself for success!
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