Ergonomics in the workplace is often something that can be overlooked, by companies both big and small. When you’ve got a busy schedule it is easy to forget to look after yourself, why shouldn’t your workplace be just as comfortable as your home?
It’s not just about comfort though, in this article we will be covering ergonomics safety tips too as working in the wrong conditions can lead to certain health conditions too. Joints can become stiff and sore and prolonged periods squatting in an odd position at your desk can lead to a stoop or other similar conditions. Overall, this article aims to provide you with the ergonomics tips that can help you really improve your work environment.
1. Use an Adjustable Chair
First things first, use an adjustable chair. In fairness this is something that many offices have already, but many fail to realize why they are so important. As fun as it is to spin around and dip up and down, defying gravity, it is important to get your chair’s settings just right. Naturally it’s hard to know exactly the level to have your chair, but a decent indicator that can be used is how far your feet are from the ground.
Essentially, if the number of inches above ground is greater than zero you should lower the chair, your feet should always be resting level on the floor. However, if you are lacking an ergonomic desk height in order to reach that prerequisite then it is possible to source a foot cushion which is as just as good as the floor in this case.
2. Correct Your Posture
Now, at the risk of sounding like a schoolmaster, think about your posture. Unless you’re auditioning for a realistic production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame spending your days in a constant stoop is certainly not advisable. Whilst it can be hard to constantly think about sitting up straight, there are alternate ways to ensure you’re looking after yourself.
Getting yourself an ergonomic chair cushion can prevent problems arising but if you have specific needs (e.g. a bad back) a cushion for your coccyx would be a sound investment. Naturally these sorts of cushions can come in all shapes, sizes and (perhaps most importantly) prices; therefore there are plenty of options available to you. You can bring in a cushion from home or you can potentially purchase a memory foam cushion especially for the purpose of using at work, this is certainly the most effective option.
3. It’s All in the Wrist
This is a phrase that can apply to many things and from this we can certainly ascertain that you should look after them when at work. When spending your time constantly typing you may fall victim to certain conditions, none of which are trivial and so it is important that you take certain action to prevent them setting in.
One of these conditions is a Repetitive Strain Injury(ies) (RSI), symptoms for these can be things such as pains and aching, amongst other things such as cramps and numbness. Further difficulties can arise if you form Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which follows similar symptoms as well as paraesthesia (pins and needles).
However, simple preventative steps can be taken to ensure you don’t have to suffer. You can easily source a good wrist support for typing, something as simple as a mouse pad can be a vital piece of protective equipment (believe it or not) and there are a variety of keyboard wrist rests available.
4. Monitor Your Eye Level
Other options available to you don’t just include other peripheral factors as the ones already discussed, but the culprit can often be the computer itself. This can easily be remedied as most modern monitors can be easily adjusted, whether this is up or down or angling the screen.
Ideally you would like to end up with the display being level with your eyes, as this prevents any strain on your neck. However, ensure that in the process you accommodate the other factors mentioned previously and that the position is both safe and unlikely to cause a breakage.
5. Get Active
There are other ways to improve your situation, there are in fact simple exercises you can do that can help undo the effects of poor ergonomics. Exercises such as the wonderfully named ‘wall angels’ and the ‘pectoral ball smash’ can counteract the effects of poor posture and help restore your body to a healthy condition. Of course you don’t have to conduct a complex routine, simply getting up to stretch on a reasonably frequent basis is enough to ensure you don’t end up crawling around like Gollum by the end of your shift.
So there we are, in this article we have highlighted the problems that can be caused by poor ergonomics in the office and possible ways to rectify or prevent them. So to conclude we’ll go over the benefits that good ergonomics can bring you.
Firstly it will boost your productivity, anyone knows that a healthy worker is able to get more done; from an employer’s point of view this can only be good as if this applies to their entire workforce then far much more can be achieved and for an employee, this allows them to stand out to their boss.
Furthermore, being ill sucks right? Good ergonomics improves your overall health and this reduces the amount of time you have to take off work and also reduces the general inconvenience and discomfort that injuries cause.
Attention to ergonomics can reduce costs too, meaning that the company won’t have to draw extra staff in the event of related staff shortages, etc. It will also improve the ethos of the company, employees that feel looked after and cared for are more likely to show real devotion to their organization and their work. This sense of worth and loyalty will likely further increase productivity on top of the benefits ergonomics provides purely by itself.