Top Ergonomic Practices for your Office
If you have a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than you do at anything else in your life. Sitting at desks all day in front of the computer, is not only daunting but hazardous.
Hours of sedentary work can take a toll on the functioning and posture of your body. In a survey by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in the US, participants attributed between 24 and 75 percent of musculoskeletal disorders(MSDs) and other minor injuries to poor office conditions. Therefore, it becomes detrimental for organizations and business owners to minimize the damage on their employees’ health via ergonomic practices.
The National Research Council of Canada defines ergonomics as “the application of scientific knowledge to the workplace in order to improve the well-being and efficiency of both the individual and the organization.” In other words, it is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, not forcing the worker’s body to fit the job.
Organizations that spend in ergonomically friendly products, end up having higher employee satisfaction and productivity along with better health.
Here are the some of the ergonomic best practices that should be encouraged by both individuals and businesses:
1) Having the right posture
Desk jobs might not seem physically taxing, but they can certainly cause physical problems (back/neck ache, weak eyesight, etc), especially when you’re sitting in a wrong posture.
A right and healthy body posture can be achieved with the right desk height along with the right distance from the monitor, height of the chair and placement of the hand.
According to OHSA at the United States Department of Labor, you should first set up your computer workstation in “neutral body positioning.” That involves ensuring that your joints are naturally aligned with your workstation to reduce stress and strain on the muscles.
So without any further ado, it’s time for you to do a desk audit. Your desks should be at a height where you can sit with your shoulders at the right angles. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, along with fostering a good body posture.
You can even find out the precise details of the dimensions on Ergotron. Simply put in your height and it can help you determine the ideal height of your chair, keyboard, and monitor.
2) Encouraging adequate breaks
Regardless of how good your working posture is, working in the same posture or sitting still for prolonged periods is not healthy. You should change your working position frequently throughout the day. Make sure there are ample break-out areas in the vicinity of your office for short breaks.
Professional ergonomist Kevin Butler says the key to physical and mental vigor at work is engaging the body in movement.
It is imperative to avoid remaining static for an extended period. Try setting an alarm on your calendar or download an app to remind you to get up and move. Refill your water, do a lap around the building or walk over to a colleague’s desk to convey a message rather than sending an e-mail.
Installing standing desks in your office is also one of the viable solutions for this situation. Standing desks promotes healthier behavior, increases circulation in your legs and active processing.
3) Opting-in for Ergonomic accessories
When it comes to accessories, there are a wide range of user friendly options available. Pick out the most indispensable ones and work seamlessly.
For instance, an ergonomic chair design would accommodate your body size, and feature a backrest that supports your back as well as possesses the ability to adjust for height and posture. Opt-in for an ergonomic chair, if comfortable seating is your priority.
Footrests, headrests, lumbar, document holders, ergonomic keyboards, etc are few of the many examples of ergonomic accessories.
4) Forging an Activity based Workplace (ABW)
The last and most crucial aspect of attaining a productive workplace is making it a happy one. A stressful work environment may cause you to remain tense for long periods of time, take fewer breaks, or fail to report work-related problems when they arise. This creates a cycle that can contribute to pain and injury and therefore needs to be mitigated.
Forging a conducive and activity based work environment thereby becomes an essential ergonomic practice. An Activity Based Working gives employees a choice about how, when and where they work. In the office, that means a choice of work settings, designed for different types of tasks. Along with control on small factors like temperature, lighting, etc, an activity based workplace encourages employees to work totally on their convenience.