Office Ergonomics—Better Health and Productivity

Office Ergonomics—Better Health and Productivity

Office Ergonomics—what does that mean? 

Basically, it means prime work environment for optimal productivity. Selecting different office equipment and implementing simple techniques can help prevent back strain, carpal tunnel, etc.

Tips to Improve Workstation Ergonomics:

1. To encourage good posture and a preferred neutral body position, invest in high-quality adjustable chairs and office equipment. The more adjustable positions a chair and desk are capable of, the more they can be tailored to the individual using them. When it comes to ergonomics, one size most definitely does not fit all.

2. Monitors and other display devices placed at eye level for the individual using them is optimal. Viewing a display should not require straining of the neck nor squinting of the eyes. Repeated straining or squinting can lead to longterm ill effects on the body. Ergonomically speaking, an optimal workstation creates a more productive employee.

3. Keyboards and mice should be placed where they can be accessed without breaking any of the neutral positioning rules. In addition, both devices should be tailored for the person using them. This may require adjustable devices or perhaps different devices for different users. Flexibility is the key.

4. Most musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) in a work environment are caused by repetitive motion. Even if an individual applies ergonomic principals, repeating the same motion over and over leads to stress on the joints and ligaments, and can eventually lead to injury. Try to reduce repetitive movement and change your routine. A little movement to counter balance or change of position can go a long way.

5. For office workers, this is most important tip on the list—get up and move around. That simple! Once an hour stand up and take a few minutes to walk down the hall, get a drink, look out the window, anything that gets you out of the chair.

6. Proper lighting, temperature, and conveniences are ergonomic essentials, as well. Lighting should not cause a glare on computer screens. Also, adjusting settings on your computer screen can help. When reading printed materials, keep in mind white light strains the eyes. Have different lighting options available—for example, small lamp with soft white light. To prevent MSD injuries in particular, colder temperatures should be avoided.

7. Looking at a computer display all day long can cause noticeable eye fatigue. To reduce the stress on the eyes, look away from the monitor every 10 to 20 minutes and focus on something more than 20 feet away. A clock on the wall, a cubicle across the office, the tree outside the window—anything will do. Changing your focus from close-up to distance viewing gives muscles a chance to relax.

Set Up Your Work Area to Combat Carpal Tunnel:

Center your work in front of you, as low as possible without touching your legs. Forearms parallel to the floor or slightly lowered is optimal. If you work while standing, have your work surface at about waist height.

  • Keep your hands and wrists in line with your forearms. For example, if you work at a keyboard, tilt it to help keep this alignment. Use proper hand and wrist position for manual tasks.
  • Hold your elbows close to your sides.
  • Avoid leaning on the heel of your hand or your wrist.
  • Take little breaks every 10 to 15 minutes. Use a reminder alarm if needed.
  • Get up and stretch at least every hour, more frequently if possible. Reach up, arms over head, take a deep breath in. Exhale slowly and fold forward as if there is a hinge at your hips (do not curve your back), and try to touch your toes. Hang forward and take a deep breath—in and out. Inhale slowly, with a flat back, as you return upright (do not curve your back). Then repeat the cycle at least 3 times.

Takeaway

  • Change positions
  • Take a stretch every hour
  • Switch up repetitive routines

Perhaps you know of someone else just starting out or looking for some help with their IT needs, as well. Please don’t hesitate to call or pass along our information. Give us a call today. (256) 513-8206

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