Never underestimate the importance of ergonomically friendly workstations.
It’s tempting to think you (or your employees) don’t need to worry – that the fancy chairs, quirky keyboards, and monitor stands are nothing but a waste of time and money.
However, work-related musculoskeletal disorders cost the economy up to $54 billion every year! A lack of ergonomic support leads to debilitating physical issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and back pain. People are forced to take time off work, access treatment, and apply for compensation.
Thankfully, a few basic measures can make a vital difference. With the right setup, you can reduce the risk of injury and facilitate all-around greater comfort in the workplace. Plus you can apply the same set-up when you’re remote working! Are you looking for advice on doing exactly that?
Read on for 7 steps to creating an ergonomic workstation.
1. Use an Ergonomic Chair
The seat you use at your workstation is all-important.
Desk-chairs of old caused all manner of issues. They were often fixed in position, making it impossible to swivel or adjust the height. They had inadequate lumbar support, lacked armrests, and made sitting for long periods uncomfortable all-around.
Modern ergonomic chairs attempt to right those wrongs.
They’re fully adjustable to personalize the seating position according to your individual requirements. They allow you to swivel on the chair, which reduces the need for twisting and turning (which can affect your spine). And they have all the support and rests you could need.
Get your hands on these chairs to use at your workstation and your body will thank you for it!
2. Adjust the Chair Appropriately
However, having the chair isn’t the same as using it correctly.
It needs to be adjusted in a way that supports your body.
Start by altering the height. Ideally, your knees are at the same height as your hips. In other words, your thighs should be parallel with the ground when your feet are flat upon it. From there, make sure the armrests are at a suitable level to keep your shoulders relaxed when seated.
3. Set the Monitor Up Correctly
Your computer monitor is one of the most important considerations of all ergonomics in the workplace.
Why? Because most people spend hours of their workday staring at it!
Whether you’re responding to emails, writing reports, managing data, or performing administrative tasks, computers are central to office-based operations. This can have serious physical (and mental) consequences when the monitor isn’t set up appropriately.
Your screen should be at (or just below) eye level and about an arm’s length away. Make sure you’re not having to look up or down at it, both of which can put a strain on your neck.
4. Position the Keyboard and Mouse Correctly
The position of your mouse and keyboard is just as important. Get it wrong and you can end up with repetitive strain injuries in your wrists.
Sit facing the workstation, with relaxed shoulders and elbows kept into your sides. Ensure the mouse isn’t too far away from the keyboard and consider switching the hands with which you use it. By alternative between the left and right, you can reduce the impact on any one of them.
5. Invest In a Telephone Headset
Answering the phone and typing at the same time can be a nightmare in ordinary circumstances.
You’re forced to sandwich the phone awkwardly between a shoulder and your cheek. Your neck’s bent over to the side in an attempt to free up your hands. Sure, it works (to a degree), but you can suffer serious neck and shoulder pain if you do it all the time.
A better solution is to put the phone on speaker. That way, you can set it down and continue to tap and talk with none of the ergonomic issues.
Unfortunately, though, this won’t work in busy offices with masses of background noise. You’ll disturb your colleagues and find it hard to talk with whoever’s on the line.
The best way forward is to invest in a phone headset. These helpful devices solve every problem we’ve discussed so far. You can talk and tap freely, without your neck suffering or disturbing your colleagues.
6. Keep Everything Close to Hand
Think about the items on your desk that you use most. Things like the phone, the keyboard, the mouse, your files…and your cup of coffee.
Anything that you use a lot throughout the workday should be kept close to hand. In other words, you should be able to access them without having to stretch or strain. This helps to limit the stress you put on your body, which should prevent injuries from occurring over time.
7. Take Regular Breaks!
This point is more general in nature. However, it’s no less significant in terms of preventing injuries at work.
No matter how ergonomic your workstation is, your mind and body will suffer if you fail to stand up, stretch, walk around, and give your eyes a rest. Our bodies aren’t designed to be in one place for too long! You’ll feel tired and stressed; your blood circulation will be inhibited, and the strain your body’s under will be exacerbated.
Taking short, regular breaks from the workstation is paramount. It’ll reduce the impact of long sedentary stretches! Your eyes, wrists, neck, back, and shoulders will all thank you for the reprieve.
Time to Create Your Ergonomically Friendly Workspace
Millions of people experience debilitating injuries at the hands of their workstations every year. In the absence of ergonomic alterations, necks, backs, shoulders, and minds all suffer.
To add insult to that injury, they’re often forced to take time off work to recover- threatening their income in the process. On the other side of the coin, employers are faced with a reduced workforce and sick pay obligations; the whole economy takes a hit in the process.
As you can see, everybody wins when ergonomically friendly workspaces are put in place. Hopefully, this article will help you do it.
Read more articles like this one by searching ‘ergonomic’ on the website now!