Sitting in a chair, operating your computers behind a desk is the ideal way to work for many people. This seemingly easy way to work can take a severe toll on the body, though. The best way to avoid persistent discomfort is via an ergonomic workspace. The obvious question then is what an ergonomic workspace is?
What is an Ergonomic Workspace?
An ergonomic workspace is one in which your body is at its most natural state while working. Whether you are working from home or in the office, it is essential to adjust your workspace to be ergonomic.
Many people are being forced to work from home due to the pandemic. This move is supposed to encourage working from a comfortable place and increase productivity and efficiency, but that has not been the case.
Instead, complaints of aches in different parts of the body have managed to defeat the whole idea of working in a comfortable space. These seemingly minor aches accrued over a long time can cause severe damage to the body.
As humans, our bodies will naturally adjust to the least uncomfortable position it finds itself in. This is not always good, though, as this usually causes bad postures, reclining figures, and whatnots. This alone emphasizes the need for an ergonomic workspace.
If you are not comfortable when working, productivity will reduce. It is not rocket science. For example, having to stretch to get an object while being on sit will make you uncomfortable and waste time. Hence, reduction in productivity.
Workspace ergonomics is essential for the human body and mind. Finding a natural balance for your body while working can do wonders to the body and for the work being done.
Ergonomics experts have had a lot to say about building an ergonomic workspace and generally agree about specific positions that the body should be in while working. The positioning also applies to the tools (computers, chairs, footrest) being used for work.
Five significant areas can define your ergonomic workspace. I will be discussing them and how you can effectively maximize these areas to attain an ergonomic workspace.
Elements That Can Make a Workplace Ergonomic
Finding The Right Chair
Finding the right chair might look easy, but it can be tricky. Some factors have to be considered before opting for any chair. Factors like head support, back support, lumbar support, the height of the chair, and the individual’s height.
A perfect chair for your ergonomic workstation will fit the s-curve of your spine. Also, you should be able to place your feet down flat on the floor or footstool. At the same time, the individual’s arms should be able to lay flat on the chair’s armrest.
It is always advisable to get a chair with adjustable height. In addition, getting a chair with adjustable lumbar support is essential too. In other cases, foams for lumber support can come in handy in these scenarios. It is also crucial that the individual’s backrests on the chair’s backrest.
All these factors combined make for a good chair and sitting position.
Desks at The Proper Height
Proper height in this context is very relative to the individual. So one key factor is the height of the individual. I have heard of many occasions where people ignore their desk because it’s either too short or too tall.
Ideally, a person’s arm on the desk should be parallel to the floor even while relaxed. Also, the space beneath the desk should accommodate the height of your knees while sitting down. Getting this perfect height largely depends on the user of the desk.
Depending on the need, you can enhance the desk’s height or better the chair’s size. Alternating the size of the chair or table should be done without compromising the ideal sitting position. The footrest can be used when the need calls for it.
Sitting for a long time can be very stressful, and that’s why some people prefer to work while standing (at least for a while). There are desks with adjustable heights used when standing or sitting and suitable for people of different sizes.
There are two things to consider here. First, the height of the monitor screen and the length of time people look at their monitors.
To get your monitor’s perfect height, then your eyes (in the sitting condition we considered above) should be focused about one or two inches below the top of the screen. Then, add two more inches if you use bifocals.
To reduce the effect of the monitor on your eyes, then the monitor should be at an arm’s length from where you are sitting. It should also be directly behind your keyboard. With these three conditions in mind, you can constantly. Then add your monitor to the best fit for work.
The best way to position your keyboard is about three inches above the knees. This way, the wrist, hand, and arms are relaxed. On the other hand, an ideal keyboard should enable typing where your hands are shoulder lengths apart. This way, the hands are not hunched towards a position and reduce the strain on the shoulders.
Thanks to technology, ergonomic keyboards are being designed. They are not necessarily full split, but they give a bit of space that effectively relieves some of the tension in the shoulders due to typing. In addition, upward tilting keyboards (where the tallest key is the space bar) can also help achieve a relaxed wrist.
The significant rule here is not to let your mouse be far from you. Keeping your mouse nearby can work wonders. Also, not all mousepads are good fits for your hands. Get a good mouse that will not cause strain on the fingers and wrist.
Learning and using keyboard shortcuts can go a long way in reducing the usage of the mouse. Getting a sensitive mouse can be good as it encourages diminished movement of the wrist and hand. Also, try moving the mouse to the other hand. This way, the strain is not much on the hand.
Many other details go into creating an ergonomic workspace. However, it usually boils down to the individual’s preference and the types of conditions they prefer to work in. An ergonomic workspace is a must for everyone that wants to be at the top of their game.