WHY CARE ABOUT OFFICE ERGONOMICS?
When an employee’s office space is setup properly, there is not only a reduction in health issues, but there is a safety culture that is created. It provides an opportunity to be more aware of the surroundings and an overall improvement in job and product quality. With less reaching and straining, proper height adjustment, and less overall movements, an employee will not exert as much energy. Proper ergonomics can help to reduce stress caused by fatigue and physical discomfort. Common issues such as headaches, eye strain, back and neck pain, carpal tunnel, and muscle strains can be easily prevented. While each individual’s needs may be different, here are some things to consider when setting up a workstation:
- Your desk should be large enough to accommodate your job with the items you use the most often closest to you to minimize stretching and bending.
- Any monitor should be directly in front of you with the top of the screen eye level in order to reduce eyestrain. Keep your neck and head stable and roughly 18 inches away from the screen.
- You chair should be adjustable in seat height with enough cushion to support you and allow you to sit straight up with your feet flat on the floor.
- You keyboard and computer mouse should be close enough as to not make you lean. Curved keyboards are designed to reduce stress on the hands and wrists with pads to support the wrist and reduce arm strain while resting.
- Use an externally attached mouse as opposed to a pad style or trackball style and it can provide more natural motions that use larger muscle groups.
- Vary your posture often and take small 10 second breaks as often as you can. Standing up, stretching, and looking away from the monitor help reduce muscle and tendon strain.
- Having a headset or speakerphone can help prevent awkward bending while multitasking if you are unable to turn directly to the phone.
- Proper lighting, elimination of glares, and a document holder at eye level can work together to reduce strain on your eyes and constant refocusing.
- Be aware of any stiffness or tingling and gently stretch these areas to prevent issues.
- Maintain good health habits, including exercise, eating healthy, and getting proper amounts of sleep will help you to reduce stress and tension in the workplace.
So the answer to the question of why care about ergonomics: it is the right thing to do in order to promote a healthy and happy environment and it’s good for business.