Did you know that the average office worker spends about 1,700 hours a year sitting in front of a computer? That’s the equivalent of almost 71 days! Unfortunately, all that sitting can take a toll on your body.
But don’t worry – there’s a solution! By practicing good office ergonomics, you can protect your body from the physical strain of office work and improve your overall well-being. Office ergonomics is the science of designing workspaces to promote physical comfort, safety, and productivity.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of good office ergonomics and provide practical tips on setting up your workstation for maximum comfort and productivity. We’ll cover everything from the right chair to the best keyboard. So whether you’re a seasoned office veteran or a remote worker just starting out, read on to learn how to create a workspace that works for you!
Benefits of Good Office Ergonomics
Did you know musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of work-related injury worldwide, accounting for nearly 40% of all work-related injuries?
When workers are comfortable and able to maintain good posture, they can focus better on their work, increasing productivity. Additionally, proper ergonomics can reduce the risk of work-related injuries, such as repetitive strain injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back pain.
In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders, often caused by poor ergonomics, accounted for 31% of all work-related injuries and illnesses in 2020.
Here are some notable benefits of Office Ergonomics:
- Reduces the risk of work-related injuries: Good office ergonomics can reduce the risk of work-related injuries like neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eye strain. This can result in fewer workers’ compensation claims, saving employers money.
- Improves comfort and productivity: Ergonomically designed workstations can help employees feel more comfortable and less tired, improving productivity and job satisfaction. This can enhance the quality of work, fewer errors, and increased output.
- Enhances posture and reduces muscle strain: Proper ergonomic design can help employees maintain good posture and reduce muscle strain, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back. This can lead to fewer musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which are a leading cause of workplace injury and illness.
- Prevents repetitive strain injuries: Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) can result from performing the same movements repeatedly over time. Ergonomic design can help avoid RSIs by reducing strain on the body and encouraging activity and task variation.
- Boosts employee morale and retention: Providing ergonomically designed workstations shows employees that their health and well-being are valued. This can increase morale and retention rates, saving employers money on recruitment and training.
- Reduces absenteeism and healthcare costs: By reducing the risk of work-related injuries and illnesses, good office ergonomics can help reduce absenteeism and healthcare costs for employees and employers. This can result in improved employee health and reduced healthcare expenses for employers.
Common Office Ergonomic Issues and Solutions
Back pain and posture issues, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries, eye strain and headaches, and neck and shoulder pain are some of the most common ergonomic issues faced by office workers. To address these issues, workers should have proper desk and chair setup, use ergonomic keyboards, and mouse, and take regular breaks to stretch and move around.
Employers can also provide ergonomic assessments and equipment, such as adjustable chairs and monitor arms, to help workers maintain good ergonomics.
Desk and Chair Setup
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers should aim to have their elbows and knees at a 90-degree angle and their feet flat on the floor or a footrest. Workers should ensure that their desk is at the right height for proper arm and wrist positioning and that their chair is adjusted to provide proper lumbar support and armrest positioning. Additionally, workers should use a footrest if their feet cannot rest flat on the floor.
Monitor and Keyboard Placement
Correct monitor and keyboard placement is critical for good office ergonomics. The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level, and the monitor should be positioned arm’s length away.
The keyboard and mouse should also be at elbow height and positioned close enough to the body to avoid reaching. Ergonomic keyboards and mouse, such as split keyboards and vertical mouse, can also help to reduce strain on the wrists and hands.
Using Laptops and Tablets
Using laptops and tablets for prolonged periods can lead to ergonomic issues, such as neck and shoulder pain and eye strain. Workers should use external keyboards and mouse to maintain proper arm and wrist positioning and elevate the screen to eye level using a laptop stand or tablet holder to prevent these issues.
How To Improve Lighting and Noise Control
Workers should use natural lighting when possible, as it can reduce eye strain and improve mood. Additionally, workers should avoid glare on their screens by positioning their monitors away from windows and using anti-glare filters.
For noise control, workers should use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs if necessary, and employers can implement noise-reducing measures such as sound-absorbing materials and white noise machines.
Office Ergonomics for Standing Desks and Treadmill Desks
Standing and treadmill desks have become increasingly popular to combat the negative health effects of sitting for prolonged periods. Workers should ensure that the desk is at the right height to maintain proper arm and wrist positioning and that their computer screen is at eye level to avoid neck strain.
Additionally, wearing comfortable shoes with good support and using an anti-fatigue mat to reduce stress on the feet and legs is important. For treadmill desks, workers should start slowly and gradually increase the speed and duration and avoid excessive typing or mouse use while walking.
The Need For Regular Breaks
Prolonged sitting and computer use can lead to physical and mental fatigue, eye strain, and other health issues. Workers should take breaks every 30-60 minutes to stand up, stretch, and move around. This can help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension, improving focus and productivity.
Training and Education for Office Ergonomics
Ongoing training and education can help ensure that workers know the importance of good ergonomics and are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to maintain it. Employers should provide training on proper ergonomics and workstation setup and information on the potential health risks of poor ergonomics. Workers should also be encouraged to report any ergonomic issues or discomfort to their supervisors, and employers should provide resources for addressing these issues.
Maintaining good office ergonomics is crucial for staying healthy and productive at work. Following the practical tips in this article, you can create a workspace that promotes comfort, efficiency, and well-being.
Whether in an office or from home, prioritizing your physical health while on the job is essential. So, take control of your workspace, and make it work for you! From adjusting your chair and keyboard to taking regular breaks and investing in ergonomic equipment, there are various ways to improve your office ergonomics.
Ambient Consulting has been providing candidates for Fortune 1000 companies since 2001. As a leading IT Consultant, Ambient can help fill all your technical and functional contracting needs. Contact us to see how we can help.