Did you know that a persistent low back disease treatment costs an average of $100,000? But investing on the best home office desk costs much less.
The ergonomic design of your office desk – whether at the workplace or home office, can prevent injury and suffering while increasing productivity.
That’s why I have curated this definitive guide to designing the ideal ergonomic workstation. It explains all the factors you should keep in mind to avoid health issues.
Why Do You Need An Ergonomic Workstation?
Table of Contents
- Why Do You Need An Ergonomic Workstation?
- Things To Keep In Mind While Setting Up Your Office Ergonomics
- What Are The Areas That You Need To Focus While Setting Up Your Workspace?
- Tips To Make Your Workstation Ergonomic
- How To Make Your Office Desk More Ergonomic Final Words: Invest In Ergonomic Accessories
What I Learned From My Experience?
After years of slouching in my office chair, I’ve begun to experience the pains that come with a poor ergonomic workspace layout. The stiff chair, tall desk, and the narrow laptop keyboard have all caused discomfort to my neck, back, shoulders, and other body parts.
Upon research, I learned that an ergonomic desk that maintains your body in a neutral position could lessen the chance of discomfort or pain caused by these stressors. This implies your neck is not curved back, down, or deformed, and your arms are not elevated or stretched out towards the sides of your body.
In addition, your forearms and hands won’t be slightly bent or get twisted while working. An ergonomic workplace allows you to sit nicely in front of the computer for extended periods without any eye strain or wrist strain.
Why Is Setting Up Your Workspace Ergonomically So Essential?
A good workplace setup is very important, no matter where you’re working- it can be in the workplace or home office.
Studies have been conducted on the influence of enhancing work ergonomics on employee productivity. In fact, several issues might develop without an ergonomic office and workstation layout. Following are some examples-
- Inadequate posture
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Muscle tiredness and strain
- Inability to concentrate on low productivity
When these difficulties are not treated immediately, the consequences can be severe. In contrast, making your workplaces more ergonomic may result in a slew of health, well-being, and productivity advantages.
Just try to consult with a doctor or an ergonomic professional before making any adjustments in your workspace.
Several factors come into play when discussing workstation ergonomics. It ranges from the type of table and chair configuration, the workplace layout, the sitting position to the location of items and things you frequently utilize. The size of the office should also be considered.
Things To Keep In Mind While Setting Up Your Office Ergonomics
Questions To Ask Yourself
There are certain questions that you need to ask before making changes to your office desk-
- What tools do you require to get the job done?
- Do you own a computer, a laptop, or a tablet?
- How many monitors do you use?
- Do you read books and use paper a lot?
- Is there more you require, such as a mic or a stylus?
- What kind of job do you perform with that equipment?
It is stated that a person’s sitting posture is determined by what they do with their hands. So, before making any adjustments, think about how you invest most of your workday.
Do you spend hours typing? Are you a visual artist who works mostly with a mouse or a stylus? If you work for a long time, adjust your equipment to be secure and conducive for that task..
What Are The Areas That You Need To Focus While Setting Up Your Workspace?
You should personalize your office space to meet your daily work requirements. Also, consider the average size of a home office before setting up the workspace.
Keep in mind that excellent ergonomic workplace posture resembles sitting in a vehicle with your feet flat on the floor. The only difference is that your legs are stretched, and the body is not upright but leaning slightly backward. To get a decent setup, concentrate on these four areas.
1. Sitting Position
There’s a common misconception that you must sit at 90 degrees with your spine parallel to the floor. Most ergonomic experts have spent their careers trying to convince people that this is not how they should sit.
Choosing a seating position that lets you see the display while providing lower back support is preferable. It could seem like you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, slightly leaning back.
If you cannot find a rocking office chair, consider placing a cushion, towel, or cloth below your lower spine. That will be beneficial. Lumbar support chair cushions are available at a reasonable price.
Furthermore, orthopedic cushions are compatible with any seat tilt and your pelvis also adjusts toward a more ergonomic posture. Shorter folks may also discover that having a footstool helps them maintain proper posture.
Additionally, make sure that the seat does not rest on the back of your knees, since this might limit blood flow and create swelling in your feet and ankles.
2. Head And Neck Position
To keep your spine, shoulders, neck, and head free from damage, your head should be vertical to your neck because this posture causes the lowest amount of discomfort. And the laptop or computer screen will need to be bigger when working on a kitchen table.
Otherwise, you’ll have to stretch your neck forward. It’s probably harmless for brief periods. But always consider placing your laptop on a laptop stand and utilizing an ergonomic keyboard and mouse for a long-term solution. Use books to lift your monitor to a comfortable eye level, which retains your neck and head in that neutral posture.
3. Working Style
The next point of emphasis is on working style. Take regular, although brief, pauses. The best habit is to take a little break every 20 minutes, where you straighten up and stretch out for a couple of minutes.
Circulation, relaxation, and productivity are all improved by movement. It also reduces the possibility of injury. Better still, go for a stroll while making a mug of coffee or tea.
Consider utilizing a voice-to-text tool or dictation software if your profession requires a lot of typing. In this manner, you may reduce the time your fingertips spend on the keyboard. Now let’s come to a very important question- should you use a standing desk while working?
Standing is more stressful on the body than sitting. There are chairs because standing all day to get work done is considerably more difficult on your physique than sitting all day to accomplish the same.
Sitting is not harmful to your health per se. But it is not advisable to sit all day, just as it is unhealthy for you to stand all day without moving. While you’re planning to use a sit-stand workstation, the ideal cycle is 20 minutes of sitting work, 8 minutes of standing, and 2 minutes of movement.
Standing for more than 8 minutes causes individuals to lean. Furthermore, if you change the height of your desk, make sure to adjust all of your other workstation equipment, such as the keyboard and monitor, to return your posture to a neutral position.
4. Hand And Wrist Position
Your hands and wrists, like your head, should be in a neutral position. Stretch your hand and arm forward, allowing them to rest flat on the tabletop. The wrist, elbow, and forearm are almost flush, which is exactly what you want.
Something you do not desire is a wrist hinge. If feasible, you might have to modify the elevation of the desk or chair or keep your keyboard and mouse closer or even further away from you. Modify your workplace accordingly. Wrong wrist positions can sometimes lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Tips To Make Your Workstation Ergonomic
It’s now time to examine some crucial strategies to improve the ergonomics of your computer workstation. Several of these are simple to do and merely need repositioning. In certain circumstances, you may have to consider purchasing new ergonomic accessories or changing the entire workplace arrangement.
1. Height Adjustable Desk And Chair
When it concerns aesthetics, one kind of desk height or chair might not fit all. The more configurations a chair and table can adapt to, the more they may be personalized to the user. You should invest in high-quality adjustable seats, furniture, and equipment to promote excellent posture and neutral body position. In addition, you should keep in mind the home office desk height that is convenient for use.
2. Reducing Repetitive Motion
Repetitive motion is the root cause of most musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs). Even if a person follows an ideal ergonomic position, repeatedly performing the same action may create stress and, eventually, harm.
Changing duties is the most effective strategy to fight this issue. Engaging in another physical activity and executing a different activity, even for a short period, will lessen the possibility of harm to the muscles under stress.
Individuals should alter their neutral stance regularly when changing tasks is not possible. For example, individuals in an office setting can go from upright sitting to standing or reclined seating. Adjusting the elevation should be sufficient to alter the muscles required for the task.
3. Take Care Of The Environmental Settings
The total working environment is sometimes disregarded when addressing ergonomics. Illumination, heat, humidity, and accessibility are all ergonomic requirements.
Lighting should not induce glare on computer monitors, so several working locations should be provided with gentler light systems. The lighting for reading a piece of written information is not always suitable for a computer screen, and such differences can often lead to eye fatigue.
Temperature settings are more difficult because everyone’s preferences vary, but every effort should be taken to set a pleasant range for as many individuals as possible. Colder conditions, in particular, should be avoided to prevent MSD injuries and reduce stress while working.
4. Constantly Look Around While Working
Looking at a laptop screen all day might produce obvious eye strain. Office workers should glance aside from the screen every 10 to 20 minutes to gaze at something more than 20 feet away to avoid eye strain and computer vision syndrome. The wall clock, the flower outside the window—anything will do.
Changing your focus to anything in the distance will cause your eyes to adapt, help you with blurred vision and allow your nearer-focus muscles to unwind.
5. Walking Around And Getting Up
This is the most crucial advice for office workers: get up and walk about. Employees should stand up once an hour and spend a few moments strolling across the hall, getting a beverage, looking out the glass, or doing anything else that pulls them out of their seats. It’s that simple!
Remember that a healthy workplace is a productive workplace.
6. Height And Distance Of The Display
Screens and other display systems should be situated at eye height and at an arm’s length from you. After all, watching a screen must not entail neck strain or straining of the eyes. And individuals should not have to move their head to see a display. This idea applies to both traditional single-monitor users and power users who use several screens.
How To Make Your Office Desk More Ergonomic Final Words: Invest In Ergonomic Accessories
If you’ve been experiencing aches and pains as a consequence of your job, it’s helpful to know that there are options. We all have restrictions – especially if you own office space at home.
You might not be able to install a window, for example. But within those constraints, there are many easy and inexpensive solutions for making your professional life less unpleasant and more effective.
Office equipment companies have created ergonomic accessories throughout the years to assist businesses and people in improving their workplaces. For example, smaller folks may benefit from a footrest when workplace desks are not customizable.
Those who need to chat on the phone all day need a headset to free up their arms and save their neck from pain. Individuals who only read printed materials would most likely want a document holder, ideally adjustable, and job lighting.
Begin now by making one good change, and gradually work your way up to building your ideal ergonomic work environment!