Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Proper Workstation Ergonomics

In our last post, we discussed ergonomics and how the implementation of proper workstation ergonomics has been seen to significantly increase employee productivity and satisfaction. So let’s now go over the specific guidelines of proper workstation ergonomics in an office setting by taking a look at how an individual’s workspace should ideally be set up.

As you proceed, try and compare the ergonomically correct workstation setup that is described below with that of your own workspace.

First, let’s discuss the ideal desk chair. In an office setting, fully adjustable chairs are essential. Not only should the seat height be adjustable, but you should also have the ability to adjust the lumbar support, the arm rests, and the seat pan of your desk chair with ease. The seat height should be adjusted so that the entire soles of both of your feet can rest flat on the floor, the highest point of the seat should be just below your kneecaps, and you should be able to bend your legs comfortably at the knees. The height of the backrest should be modified to ensure firm support of the small of your lower back. The height of the armrests should allow your elbows to rest lightly at the same height as the keyboard in order to allow your wrists to be in a neutral position while typing. The upper arms should be generally straight up and down, while the forearms are horizontal or angled slightly downward. Finally, the depth of the seat should be altered by moving the backrest forward or backward in order to enable complete and comfortable thigh support. Ideally, the chair should have five or more legs at the base and a full 360 degree swivel.

Next, you should have adequate space on your work surface so that your most frequently used items can be conveniently and comfortably reached. The proper placement of your computer monitor on your work surface will help prevent eye strain, neck pain, and shoulder fatigue. First, your monitor screen should be strategically positioned so as to prevent any overhead or window light from causing a glare. In order to avoid straining your neck, the top edge of your monitor screen should be exactly at eye level. This will allow you to see everything on your screen clearly without having to look up at all. Next, your monitor should be placed approximately 18 to 28 inches, about an arm’s length, away from your eyes, and your body should be perfectly centered in front of your monitor and keyboard. Additionally, you should position a document holder either between your monitor screen and keyboard platform, or right next to your monitor screen on the same side as your dominant eye and at approximately the same angle and height as the screen. This will allow you to store any important documents within easy reach so as to avoid any unnecessary twisting and prevent from painfully straining your neck.

Regarding a keyboard and mouse for your workstation, you should first select a mouse that fits comfortably within your hand and is as flat as possible so as to minimize any strain on your wrist. Your keyboard and mouse should be placed together on a platform directly in front of you and beneath your monitor. This platform should easily move from side to side, up and down, in and out, and lock securely in place. The height of this platform should allow you to rest your hands lightly on your keyboard or mouse with your forearms still supported comfortably by your chair’s armrests. It should allow you to keep your wrists straight and maintain approximately a 90 degree angle between your upper arms and forearms while operating both keyboard and mouse. Your wrists should not rest while typing, but rather they should remain in a neutral position. Finally, your keyboard and mouse should have a wrist rest which will only be used when you are taking a break from typing or operating the mouse.

Generally speaking, you should try to avoid remaining in one position for an extended period of time and repeating the same motions over and over again. Try to vary your tasks in order to switch up your body position and encourage different movements. The space beneath your work surface should have sufficient room above your legs to allow for different positions, such as the comfortable crossing of your legs. Keep in mind that the human body is not designed to sit still for long periods of time, even if you are in perfect posture. You should be able to take regular breaks to stand up, stretch your muscles, and even walk around as often as you like in order to increase energy levels, stimulate circulation and brain activity, fight fatigue, and keep you alert and focused throughout your workday. 

With all of that said, how does this description of the ideal workstation compare with your own working environment?? If you have noticed a significant amount of similarities between the two, then you are well on your way to a healthy and productive work style!! If you have found more differences than similarities, you might be asking yourself…

How can I improve my workspace to make it more ergonomically correct?

Or in other words…

What can I do to improve my performance, safety, comfort, and satisfaction at work everyday???

I have three words for you: Invest in Ergotech.

Ergotech Group, Inc. is the leading full service provider of ergonomic workspace solutions.  Ergotech’s innovative solutions are designed to make the workplace more comfortable, more functional, and more productive.  Ergotech’s product line includes a folding desk stand and protective case for the iPad, single and dual monitor mount solutions, large multi-screen mounting solutions for up to 15 flat panel monitors, desk stand systems, keyboard tray and arm combinations, CPU and Laptop ergonomic solutions, and a wide range of desk accessories. In addition, Ergotech is now introducing the all new Sit Stand, an easy to use and assemble adjustable workstation that enables you to raise your work surface up to 20 inches off your desk, thus giving you the freedom to choose whether you want to sit or stand at your desk at any given moment! Ergotech’s Sit Stand has the greatest total weight capacity and the highest range of vertical travel of any adjustable workstation, and it is the only electrically actuated Sit Stand Modular Monitor Mounting System on the market today!!!

For more information about Ergotech’s innovative ergonomic workspace solutions, please visit the Ergotech Group website: www.ergotechgroup.com


Written by Julia Cavaliere – Ergotech Group, INC.
July 2, 2013