Ergonomically designed offices are increasingly becoming the norm as organizations realize just how important it is in establishing a productive and energized workspace. The discipline of ergonomics looks at how to improve the interaction between people and the equipment, furniture and systems they come into contact with in the workplace.
The primary aim of office ergonomics is to minimize the musculoskeletal damage that can be caused from repetitive work, prolonged sitting or incorrect posture. There are a diverse number of ways to implement ergonomic products and ideas ranging from a simple change to your posture to a complete rearrangement of your work table.
This ergonomic infographic from GetVoIP will help you keep healthy and productive at work. Below are some tips to help you get started.
Poor office ergonomics
It can be surprisingly simple to make a mistake from an ergonomic perspective, even if you don’t realize it at first. Often the onset of injuries related to poor ergonomic practices tend to take weeks or months to fully take hold. Some of the problems that arise can significantly hinder a person’s capacity to work including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
- Chronic back pain
- Ganglion Cysts
Below are some of the most important ergonomics tips and practices that you can easily implement to help protect you and your employees from any problems.
Correct monitor placement
If you’re working in an office then the odds are that you spend a lot of that time looking at a monitor. Correct monitor placement is crucial as many vital neck and back muscles and nerves are involved in the process of turning and holding your head. Straining your neck in an unnatural position to look at your monitor not only harms your neck, but the nerves and muscles in your neck are linked to your back and the pain can soon spread.
Your eye level needs to be around 2-3 inches from the top of your monitor so that your neck is not straining upwards or downwards. Keeping it about an arm’s length away from you is also important to avoid straining your eyes.
TIP: if you don’t have a monitor stand, find a couple of large books to place under your monitor to raise it to eye level.
Get your posture right
Posture is one of the most important factors at play in office ergonomics as the positions your body holds over extended periods of time can determine whether musculoskeletal problems arise or not. Poor postures include:
- Slouching in your seat
- Hunching too far forward
- Raising your arms too high
- Leaning to one side
Perhaps the most important thing to remember to avoid bad posture is to keep your back straight, as this eases the strain on your muscles and joints. Your keyboard and mouse should also be positioned so that your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle, ensuring that your arms are not raised too high and your wrists aren’t bent.
Your arms should be kept fairly close to the side of your body, while there should be few inches of room between the back of your knees and the front of your seat so that blood can flow down to your legs and feet properly.
TIP: Alter your chair height if your keyboard and mouse are too high or low, but be sure to adjust the monitor too if required.
The human body simply wasn’t designed to sit in an office chair all day, and all manner of health problems can occur from an excessively sedentary lifestyle including a drastic reduction in your metabolic rate. This is why it is vital to take regular breaks from your workstation, even if it is just for a couple of minutes every hour or so.
Getting up and walking around helps to keep blood circulating throughout your body and can be a great way to refresh and rejuvenate your body. It also takes the stress off certain muscles and joints that may be overworked from too much sitting.
TIP: Try a few yoga stretches at your desk to keep your blood flowing and loosen up your muscles.
Keeping your eyes healthy is another integral part of office ergonomics. Eye strain can affect those who work with monitors as looking at a screen places strain on the delicate muscles within the eye. The 20-20-20 rule was designed to help combat eye strain, advising people to look away from their screen every 20 minutes at a spot around 20 feet away for a period of 20 seconds, relieving the strain on the eye.
The settings on your monitor should also be optimized to further prevent eye strain. Brightness levels should match the level of brightness in the room, whilst a refresh rate of at least 70 Hz can also further help protect you from eye strain.
All of these tips should help you happy and healthy at the office.
About the author: Reuben Yonatan is the founder of GetVoIP, a leading VoIP provider comparison resource. As an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, Reuben’s expertise is in helping small to mid-size business owners build, maintain, and scale their communication infrastructure.
Please include attribution to www.getvoip.com with this graphic.