Make Your Workplace More Ergonomic in 7 Minutes
If something is ‘ergonomic’, it serves two purposes — to make you more comfortable, and to help you avoid injuries and stress. Ergonomic is a word you’re going to start hearing a lot more. Why? People are finally starting to realize the importance of it in the office. Ergonomic approaches to the workplace used to be implemented only when people had already developed symptoms of stress and strain injuries. Nowadays, people are more aware. Plus, the average person works around 15-20% of their life away. Might as well work in comfort, right?
While I would love to recommend super comfortable chairs and desks that are really pricy, and fancy new computers for every office, most people just don’t have the time, money, or the willingness to invest. Here are 4 ways to make your workspace (and yourself) more ergonomic – really quickly!
As previously mentioned, you probably want a really comfy new chair. But sometimes that’s just not in the plans, so you can try to work with the one you’ve got. First, adjust the height so your feet sit flat on the floor, and your thighs become parallel with the floor. Then, put the seat-back up so it’s parallel with your straight back.
Your posture plays a major role in keeping you healthy. And all of my fellow slouchers know about that annoying back pain at the end of the day. I used to slouch like no other. Make sure you’re sitting straight so that your lower back hits the back of the chair. There shouldn’t be space; otherwise you’re probably slouching a bit! Make sure your shoulders are back, but not slouched. Lastly, try not to lean to one side when working. Sometimes the day gets the best of you and you want to lean on a hand to keep working. This probably means you should take a break.
I often find that the what’s on the desk, and the desk itself, are the major culprits in non-ergonomic workstations. Make sure your mouse and keyboard are close together, otherwise you’re stretching your arms too much. Also make sure the keyboard is straight in front of you, and centered. You don’t want it to be off to the side. When typing, your arms should be just about parallel to the ground. That’s how you know you’re sitting at the right height. As for the monitor, make sure it’s straight in front of you. Your eyes should be between 20 and 30 inches from the screen. When looking straight ahead, you should be looking at the top 1/5 of the screen. If you’re using two monitors, one should be used a majority of the time.
When was the last time you took a break today? Right now might be the time. The recommended length of a break will vary depending on the expert, but most people would agree that taking breaks will actually increase your productivity. I recommend taking a few minutes away from the desk for every hour and a half you work. Get up, move around, and take your eyes off the computer. Perhaps you could take a couple laps to the printer and back, or go outside.
Now that you’re done reading this article, don’t forget it all and move on! Even if you’re more comfortable slouching, having your chair really low, etc. – it’s not going to be good for you in the future!
Chris Hill is the President and CEO of Framing Technology Inc. In order to ensure his workers are comfortable, healthy, and productive, Chris has become very familiar with the ergonomic workstation. Connect with him on Google+.