Ergonomics is the science of matching the work to the worker. Office ergonomics covers finding the right match for a worker and their work environment. Occupational therapists use ergonomics to ensure that individuals’ occupations do not impede their health and well-being. When there isn’t a fit for the worker and the environment, it can cause physical and psychological stress, resulting in physical health problems and injuries to muscles, joints and nerves. When done correctly, good ergonomics can increase your comfort, improve morale and advance work productivity.
Five steps you can take to help make your work space more ergonomic:
- Position monitor at least 20” away and directly in front of you. If you need to raise your computer screen, consider using books or a small box, which helps reduce neck strain at work. When positioning your monitor, the top of monitor should be in level with your eye line.
- Adjust chair height so your feet rest flat on the floor and your knees are level with your hips. To find this balance, some may need a foot stool to secure proper alignment.
- Make sure that the weight of your arms is supported at all times. If your arms are not supported, the muscles of your neck and shoulders will be working overtime. Adjust the armrests on your chair to the point where your arms are slightly lifted at the shoulders. Doing so will allow the armrest to support just the elbow and take weight off the shoulders.
- Take steps to control screen glare and make sure that the monitor is not placed in front of a window or a bright background. Position the computer with the window to your side to control light levels and glare. Also, be sure to look up and away from the monitor regularly, blinking your eyes to help reduce eye fatigue.
- Use the backrest of the chair for support to prevent muscle discomfort. You should avoid working in the forward position or sitting on the edge of the seat without back support. Your goals is to maintain the normal “S” shaped curve of the spine. Ensure that your ear is in line with your shoulder, chin in and avoid sticking your chin too far forward as this places stress on the neck and shoulders.
Following these five steps, you should improve the ergonomics of your desk and enjoy a more comfortable work space.
Tell us – what’s one thing you need to make your work space more comfortable?