Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines ergonomics as: an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.
Sure, you might compare an office job to something like construction work and wonder just how unsafe sitting at a desk can really be. But research has shown that eight hours of sitting five days a week can really take a toll on your mental and physical health!
Luckily, there is a solution. In fact, there are many solutions. As an office manager or administrative assistant, it’s part of your job to make the workplace as comfortable as possible. By making slight adjustments to the office space, you can say goodbye to the workspace hunchbacks. Encourage employees to follow these ergonomic tips to maximize productivity.
Keep Your Spine in Line with Good Posture
Having good posture isn’t just a social courtesy, it’s essential to avoid back pain and discomfort. Make sure to keep the chair close to the workspace to avoid unnecessary strain on your back. If you sit at the edge of your chair, scoot it in. Take advantage of the back support a well-designed office chair provides, and don’t lean in when you can lean back.
Support Your Arms
Keep your arms parallel to the desk to minimize shoulder and neck pain. The armrest should be high enough so that your arms are slightly lifted at the shoulders. Don’t let your arms hang low off the desk if they don’t have to. After eight hours of dangling arms, your neck and shoulders will want to kill you.
Set Up Your Monitor and Keyboard Correctly
Your eyes should not be glued to the screen. A good rule of thumb is to keep the monitor at least 20 inches away from your eyes. Staring at a bright screen is straining enough, let alone having it one inch from your face.
A great administrative assistant should invest in ergonomically designed products to increase workspace satisfaction. Ergonomically designed keyboards allow for comfortable typing and will prevent wrist pronation. If you want to get the most out of your employees, provide quality keyboards so they can work pain-free.
Don’t Sit Too High
Office chairs are not swings. Dangling feet are not good for you when you’re sitting for long periods of time. If your feet don’t touch the floor, it’s time to lower the chair and keyboard. If your ankles are swelling or you’re experiencing any pressure on the back of your legs, prop your legs up on a footstool.
Take the Time to Stretch
Sitting day in and day out is no fun. It makes you stiff as a board and causes circulation problems. Take a couple of minutes every now and again to stretch your arms and back. Stretching is good for the body and it’s a great way to relieve stress. Take any opportunity you can to stand up. Peer over the cubicles or walk around for a second. Your body will thank you.
Rest Your Eyes
Bright screens and bloodshot eyes go hand in hand. Give your eyes a rest by taking a few seconds to look at objects other than your computer screen. Focusing on objects farther away will give your eyes the rest they need.
Invest in Ergonomically Designed Office Products
Running an efficient office requires employees to put in their best work on a consistent basis. Discomfort will have employees squirming in their seats and is a huge source of distraction. As the office manager, you can minimize potential discomfort by reminding employees to follow ergonomic tips for the office, and do your part by investing in high quality ergonomic products.
By making a few simple tweaks to your desk setup and choice of peripherals, you may be able to improve your productivity and overall feelings of wellness. Although you spend only eight hours of your day at your desk, it is a long time to stay seated. Remember to get up, stretch and give yourself work breaks to stay productive and in a good frame of mind – and body!