How to Improve Ergonomics in the Workplace

Is your workspace helping you work and be successful, or crippling you in the process? Studies have shown that ergonomic design in your work space, whether at the office or at home, can not only reduce injury and pain, but boost your productivity and overall satisfaction as well.

The following is the tips to creating the perfect ergonomic workspace, whether at home or at your office. We look at all the best practices and workstation equipment you should adopt now to save yourself from serious health issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injuries.

What is Ergonomics?

The principle of ergonomics is a science. It is the science of designing objects, environments and systems to fit the user’s needs. On a daily basis, ergonomics aims to improve general efficiency, productivity, and eliminate discomfort.

In the workplace, understanding and valuing ergonomics is essential to prevent injuries that can happen due to poor posture or the impact of repetitive movements. The importance of movement throughout the day is also something to consider in ergonomics. Having a sedentary lifestyle with office furniture that promotes a fixed posture and little to no movement plays an important role in the overall comfort and performance of a desk worker.

Ergonomics encourages a balance between sitting and standing during the work day, which is attainable with the help of an height-adjustable desk, an ergonomic chair and ergonomic accessories.
Why is Ergonomics Important?
You might ask the question, why are some offices are paying a lot of money to have ergonomic workstations installed for their employees?

Ergonomic workstations set up a conducive working posture throughout the day, which makes employees healthier and happier. Poor work environments have the potential to cause poor efficiency, morale, and health for employees.

1. Computer Related Injuries

Office-related injuries due to a combination of lengthy sitting and poor posture include:

lower back pain
neck and shoulder pain,
decreased blood circulation throughout the body
repetitive use injuries to the wrists and hands.
Staring at a computer screen all day can cause blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches.

2. Long Term Issues

Employees may think that these injuries are temporary, but researchers say otherwise, claiming injuries over time can turn into chronic conditions.

These conditions include nerve impingements, blood pressure changes, metabolic changes, and joint subluxation.

How to Set Up an Ergonomic Workspace at Home

Whether you are looking to upgrade your existing setup, or are creating your first ergonomic workspace, Here are some tips on how to set up an ergonomic workspace at home.

1 : Adjust Your Desk Height

Before getting started with the smaller ergonomic accessories and lifestyle habits needed to create a comfortable ergonomic workspace at home, you need to focus on what’s most important: the desk.

The ideal ergonomic desk height depends on your body measurements. It is, therefore, important to check in with yourself to make sure your work surface is the appropriate height.

Here is what to look for:

Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle and be at the same height as your desk.
Your arms should hang loosely near your torso, with most of the forearms on the desk or the chair’s armrests.
Your wrists should be straight in front of you and remain in a neutral vertical position.

2 : Choose the Right Ergonomic Chair For You

Even with the best possible standing desk on the market, a good ergonomic and comfortable chair is essential. Considering that we spend almost half of our day sitting, it is one of the most crucial aspects of a health-conscious work environment. Being sure you have a good ergonomic chair and footrest, if needed, should be a priority when it comes to setting up a home office.

Here are a few tips to look out for on your current chair:

The adjustable height of your chair should ensure that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent so that your legs are at a 90 degree angle and do not bump against the surface of the desk.
The chair should be adjusted in height so that your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest.
Your armrests must slightly touch your forearms, but allow room for your shoulders to be relaxed.
Your back should be supported by the chair, preferably with adjustable lumbar support.
The seat pan needs to be the appropriate length to support your thighs without hitting the back of your knees and at least one inch wider than your hips on either side.

3 : Protect Your Eyes and Your Neck

This step is as important for your long term health as the other steps. Take care of your eyes, head, and neck by making sure your monitor’s placement is optimal and ergonomic.

Here is what to look for:

Your monitor needs to be at an arm’s length distance from you.
Your eyes should be vis-à-vis the address bar of an internet browser page, so your head is in a straight, neutral position.
The screen should be straight in front of you, protecting your neck from unnecessary torsion.
Place your monitor perpendicular to, and about a meter and a half away from, a source of natural light (or any bright light source).

4 : Surround Yourself With The Right Tools

Curating the most efficient and ergonomic workspace at home goes beyond office furniture. Often forgotten or taken for granted, these next smaller tools and accessories are essential for anyone who wishes for the complete and productive experience of working remotely.

While your computer and monitors are the main characters of the tech aspect of your office, you also need a quality mouse and keyboard to be able to work.

Ergonomic Mouse

An ergonomic mouse is designed to embrace the natural grip and movement of your hand. That brings us to the basics of ergonomics! Working with an ergonomic mouse can help prevent any problems in the future by promoting a neutral position and relaxed grip.

Ergonomic Keyboard

Standard keyboards force you to hold your wrists and arms at unusual angles, which can cause discomfort or pain in your hand, arm, or shoulder in the long term. An ergonomic keyboard can help you position your body more naturally, with your shoulders relaxed, your upper arms close to your torso, and your forearms level with the floor.

Wrist Support

For additional ergonomic wrist support, using a wrist pad or rest can increase your comfort while working while preventing injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.

5 : Get Moving!

We believe movement should be a fundamental part of your workday. After all, we are built to move!

Movement can include small stretches to prevent back pain and short walks to get the blood flowing, but the ultimate way we include movement in our workday is by using a standing desk.

Standing desks have been shown to increase productivity and lower back pain. Our standing desks allow you to program 2 different heights to make the switch from standing to sitting easily.

6 : Stretch It Out

In addition to getting moving, think about adding a few corrective exercises to your routine to counteract long workdays. Moving regularly will redistribute the stress on the different tissues of the body.

It is essential to do the stretching first and then do the corrective exercise afterwards. Stretching will “deactivate” the overloaded muscle, and the exercise will teach the body how to maintain the ideal posture using the right muscles. Here is a stretch/exercise duo to use during your long working days.

Final Thoughts

The best workstation is one that would allow you to work in the most neutral body position to create the least amount of strain. The adjustability of your workspace is, therefore, crucial to a healthy environment. We believe that with the appropriate desk height, an option for standing, a comfortable chair, and a monitor stand, you are creating an active and ergonomic workspace to make the most out of your workday.