6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Workstation Ergonomics
Today’s technology has improved our way of working allowing employees to conduct almost all of their work without ever leaving their desk. However, this fixed position bears negative effects on our health.
Many of us spend seven or more hours sitting at our workstation every day, but the human body is not designed to sit in a fixed position for long periods of time. This action leads to ergonomic stressors such as slouching, working in awkward positions, and discomfort when making certain movements.
Corporate offices, healthcare, and laboratory facilities provide a wide range of ergonomic stressor due to repetitive movement in a fixed position leading to lower productivity and even injury. These facilities provide its employees with great office/laboratory design, proper equipment, and furniture but it is the employee’s responsibility to use good judgment on ergonomics at their workstation.
Here are 6 ways to improve your working environment.
1. Good Posture
Bad posture is a serious cause of back and neck pain in the workplace. Poor posture can lead to strain injuries and even affect employees productivity due to fatigue. You can practice good posture and prevent injury by finding the right position where the least strain is placed on your body while sitting or standing at your workstation. It is recommended to periodically change body positions throughout the day to prevent strain.
2. Adjustable Chairs
Having a proper chair can significantly reduce the risk of a lower back injury. A good ergonomic chair allows a worker to adjust the lumbar support to maintain the natural “S” curve of the spine while sitting, adjust armrests, adjustable height and a comfortable sitting surface.
3. Adjustable Height Desk & Sit-Stand Workstations
Adjustable height workstations provide workers with the ability to quickly adjust their desk height from a sitting to a standing position. Standing provides many health benefits including burning calories, improve blood flow, reduce back pain and even improve energy levels. There are a ton of adjustable height workstation available for you to choose from, including electrical or manual height features. A popular option for laboratories is adjustable height workbench.
4. Monitor Placement
Simple ergonomic improvement anyone can do to their workstation is to adjust the distance and height of their monitor. This simple improvement reduces eye, arms shoulder, and neck fatigue. A monitor should be positioned about an arm’s length away and the height should be adjusted so your eyes look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen.
5. Keyboard and Mouse Placement
The best placement for a keyboard and mouse should be positioned based around your natural posture. The keyboard and mouse should be at the same height as the elbows and forearms. Elbows should be kept at your side with arms at or below a 90-degree angle and your shoulders can fall relaxed by your side. This is the best form while at your workstation to help prevent strain. Keyboard trays can be implemented to obtain this comfort level. If keyboard trays are not available, adjust the height of your chair or desk.
6. Taking Breaks
As we mentioned earlier, the human body is not designed to stay in the same position for long periods of time. Taking short and brief rest breaks can reduce strain and improve productivity. Here are a few simple activities you can do while at your workstation.
- Give your eyes a break. Every 15 minutes look away from the computer screen for a minute or two
- Micro-breaks. Between typing burst, rest your hands in a relaxed posture for a minute
- Rest breaks. Every 30 to 60 minutes take a break to stand up and move around
Although employees may not have access to a sit-stand workstation, there are a number of other areas employees can improve for a better ergonomic workspace. Following good posture, correct chair height, monitor height, and keyboard and mouse placement are a few simple solutions to improve employees health and productivity in the workplace. You can also help your company identify risk factors and implement measures to reduce possible office injury.