Is office ergonomics truly that important? Back then, workplace ergonomics was touted as an unnecessary expense. It is because workers before were expected to just tough it up and do their jobs.
However, recently, it was discovered that ergonomics contributes to a better workplace. It does not only lead to increased worker health and well-being but also better productivity.
If you are interested to learn about office ergonomics, then this article can help. It can teach you about how you can make your own workplace highly ergonomic. With the tips and information here, you and your staff can end your workday without feeling extremely miserable and exhausted.
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What is Office Ergonomics?
Implementing proper ergonomics in the workplace involves making even the slightest changes in your work environment to ensure that it becomes more conducive to working efficiently. Many people think that ergonomics is just making sure that the workers are comfortable in the workplace, but that is not always the case.
It usually involves designing or arranging items in the workplace so that workers can work more efficiently and safely. It also requires investing in office furniture and accessories that are all designed ergonomically for the user’s comfort and safety.
Ultimately, aside from ensuring that more work gets done, having proper ergonomics in the office can also improve the health and happiness of your workers. The good thing about applying this is that it can also result in fewer worker absences.
It can also lead to minimal to no filings of worker’s compensation. Yes, you may have to spend some money on office ergonomics, but it is a worthwhile investment. Instead of thinking of it as an additional expense, view it as a much-needed investment to boost productivity and morale.
Office Ergonomics Tips
1. Support the weight of your arms at all times
One of the most useful office ergonomic tips is to ensure that there is always adequate and proper support for your arms every time you work. Without proper support, your shoulders and neck muscles will have to carry all the weight.
This will result in soreness and pain by the end of the day. One way to make sure that your arms get proper support is to invest in an office chair with armrests. The armrests should be high enough that you can place your elbows on them while typing on your keyboard.
2. Check your neck and head position
Make sure that your head and neck are always in the right position while working, too. You can do that by positioning your monitor properly. Ideally, the topmost part of your monitor should not be higher than eye level while you are sitting down in front of your desk.
If needed, you need to raise your seat a bit. If you are someone who is on the taller side, then you can put your monitor on riser blocks.
3. Stop slouching
Slouching is also not a great position for workers. Note that every time you slouch, you are putting too much pressure on your spine. This might cause horrible and extreme back pain later.
To avoid that, use a computer chair that provides you with enough lumbar support. This type of chair will prevent you from slouching and leaning back too often. It can help straighten your spine as much as possible.
Also, avoid sitting in such a way that you are placing more weight on one side of your body than the other.
4. Arrange your monitor
As mentioned earlier, the center of your monitor should be at eye level while you are sitting in front of your desk. Aside from that, it is important for you to place your keyboard right in front of the monitor.
If you are using multiple monitors, place it in front of your main monitor. This way, you will not be turning your head quite as much. You can also prevent putting a lot of unnecessary strain on your neck muscles.
5. Don’t place the phone between your neck and ear
If you are on the phone most of the time, then you should avoid wedging it between your ear and shoulder. Doing so will only put too much strain on your shoulder and neck muscles.
You need to use a headset so that it will be more comfortable to take calls. Moreover, it will also free your hands to do other things. You may also want to use Bluetooth headsets, so you do not have to deal with pesky wires.
6. Position your keyboard and mouse close together
Even if your desk comes with a drawer for the keyboard, it would be best for you to place it on top of the desk. Put the mouse pad right beside it. It can prevent you from always having to reach for your mouse, which may cause shoulder muscle strain over time.
Moreover, you should invest in a good wireless mouse and an extended mouse pad to make things a lot easier.
7. Keep your distance from the monitor
Although modern computer monitors are much easier on the eyes now compared to the ancient CRT ones of decades ago, they still put a significant amount of strain on the eyes.
Position your monitor at least an arm’s length away from your eyes. However, it should not be too far that you will already be straining to read what is on screen. Also, adjust the settings of your monitor so that it is not too bright.
8. Rest your eyes periodically
If you need to work in front of the computer all day, then you have to learn a few tips in preventing excessive eye strain. You have to let your eyes rest every now and then. A wise tip is to follow the 20/20 rule.
What it means is that every 20 minutes, you need to look away from your monitor for at least 20 seconds. You can set a discreet alarm to remind you to rest your eyes. You can use your smartphone for this, or install an app on your PC that will display a regular reminder.
9. Position your feet properly
Learn the proper positioning of your feet, too. Both your feet should not be dangling in the air when you are sitting behind your desk. They should also be comfortably resting on the floor.
You should position your feet in a way that you will not constantly feel pressure at the back of your legs when seated. If lowering your seat will make your desk too high, get a footrest, like a box or a small stool. You can put it under your desk to raise your feet.
10. Keep your body moving
It is extremely unhealthy to just sit down for hours on end. Even if you need to work for long hours, you still need to make it a point to move certain parts of your body to ensure that your blood can circulate properly.
Every hour or so, you need to stand up and stretch out your legs and arms. If possible, take a quick walk around the building. If you are using a standing desk, consider getting a contoured, anti-fatigue mat. It might help force you to move.
11. Adjust your chair properly
It is important to adjust your chair to the right height. It should not be too high that your feet will already dangle in the air. It should not also be too low that your knees are already higher than your hips.
Adjust your chair so that your feet are comfortably planted on the floor. If you still notice some pressure on your legs, specifically at the back, then that means your seat is still too high. Adjust it accordingly.
12. Look into standing desks
Using standing desks is truly beneficial for all workers out there, so investing in one is surely a wise decision. In a nutshell, the use of a standing desk is much better for your health than sitting on a regular desk.
It would be like exercising your whole body while you are working. If you have trouble standing for extended periods, then you can get a convertible desk. That way, you can take a seat whenever you feel tired.
Why are These Office Ergonomic Tips Important?
One of the biggest reasons why having an ergonomic office is important is that it prevents workplace injuries, whether immediate or those that develop over time. Poor or non-existent ergonomics in an office setting can lead to injuries.
Some examples of these injuries are acute lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and a host of other painful ailments. Even if the employees do not file for worker’s compensation, which is unlikely, a non-ergonomic workplace will see a rise in employee absenteeism and low productivity.
In many cases, it can also result in high employee turnover rates. Spending a bit of money now to make your workplace more ergonomic can save you a lot more in the future. It even has a high potential for increasing profits in the long run.
You do not have to spend that much in an instant. You just need to take it one step at a time. There is no need to buy every one standing desks, but you can start by giving them comfortable and ergonomic office chairs that you can afford.
Will Optimizing Office Ergonomics Help with Productivity?
Yes, it will. Making your office workspace more ergonomic will greatly affect employee morale and productivity. Think about it. When you provide your workers with ergonomic tools, you will instantly notice their ability to work continuously even for extended periods.
It is because not even a single sign of discomfort will hamper them. Working with your body placed in its natural position will allow you to do your tasks in relative comfort. You will not even notice how much time has passed and how many things you have achieved.
Also, not complaining about your workstation giving you chronic body pain and stress will make your daily tasks a lot less daunting. You will most likely want to go to work every day.
Aside from that, office ergonomics will greatly lessen employee turnover. This means you no longer need to train as many new hires every year, so you can just focus on tasks that will benefit the company better.
What are Some Advantages of Office Ergonomics?
Aside from paying for fewer to no employee’s compensations, you can also save money by not having to train new hires every couple of months or so. If your office is ergonomically sound, employees are less likely to seek gainful employment elsewhere.
It also gives you the chance to retain your skilled employees for a longer time. Moreover, you can save a lot of potential earnings because your people are less likely to call in sick.
Fewer employees experiencing pain
The most common health complaints of office employees are lower back pain, shoulder and neck pain, and wrist pain. You can easily avoid these maladies by making the office space more ergonomic and conducive to working.
Also, keep in mind that if your workers are in discomfort, they can significantly lower their productivity. If half of your workforce is complaining about constant body pains, it is probably time to consider making some ergonomic changes to the office.
Working in an ergonomic space will greatly boost productivity because workers can focus on their tasks rather than working while feeling uncomfortable. They will not even notice the time passing when working behind an ergonomic workstation.
It is mainly because all movements will seem natural and not strenuous at all. Moreover, since fewer workers are complaining of miscellaneous body pains, there will be fewer of them calling in sick.
Comfortable employees can also be considered as happy employees. By providing them with ergonomic workstations and tools, they will feel like the company is looking out for their health and well-being.
As such, they will be more inclined to work at their best all of the time to show their appreciation. High morale among the employees will also lead to increased company loyalty and low to no annual employee turnovers.
Because employees are not complaining about sore backs, necks, shoulders, as well as other possible ailments, the company will have impressive attendance records in the years to come. Also, working behind an ergonomic desk is such a joy that workers will want to go to work.
They will surely enjoy working because the comfort they feel will prevent them from thinking of their job as exhausting. Fewer employees will also feel the need to come up with an excuse not to get a day off from working behind their torture chamber of a desk.
Office ergonomics is not an unnecessary expense. It is a wise investment that will pay in dividends in the long run. Yes, you will need to shell out a hefty sum to make your workplace into an ergonomic paradise, but you do not have to do it all at once.
Investing in ergonomic office furniture and appliances will greatly improve the atmosphere and the morale of the workers. As everybody knows, happy workers are highly-efficient and very productive.
Don’t worry about your initial cost. You can recoup that amount in no time at all. Aside from that, you will notice a great increase in your company profits because of this investment in your workers’ comfort and health.