Are you in pain when using your workstation? Studies have shown that an ergonomic workspace can help to reduce injury and back pain.
Whether you have a whole office that needs to be assessed or a simple workstation, ergonomic consulting can help to meet the needs of employees. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and low employee downtime. In this post, we’ll discuss how to set up your workstation and make it ergonomic-friendly.
Let’s jump right in!
How to set up the perfect ergonomic workspace
Adjust your height desk
A working desk comes in a variety of designs. But the most ergonomic aspect is the height. An overlay low desk will cause your back to hunch while a too high desktop can strain your arms. Through ergonomic consulting, you can determine the right size of the desk. Some of the tips that can help you determine the right height include:
- The angle between the upper arm and forearm should be 90 degrees
- The legs should fit comfortably under the desk – ample space to cross your legs
Adjusting your posture will not only prevent motion-related injuries but also fights fatigue.
Adjustable height desks allow you to set the workstation at the preferred level. When under the desk, make sure you have enough clearance for the feet and thighs. But if you can’t adjust the desk, you can use a footrest to adjust the chair. Similarly, if the desk has a hard edge, you can use a wrist rest.
Invest in the right chair
While finding the right chair for your workstation may look like a puzzle, this doesn’t have to be the case. If you spend 8-15 hours in any type of chair, you’re simply inviting all types of ailments including neck and back pain. This is where ergonomic consulting comes in.
90 is the magic number
Ask any ergonomic consultant and they will tell you that a good workspace should ensure that all joints are individually aligned. When your muscles over-compensate, it often leads to pain and injuries. A 90-degree angle means that your knees, ankles, elbows, and hips are properly aligned. There are a couple of things you can learn through ergonomic consulting:
- If your feet don’t touch the floor, you should prop them
- The back should be straight
- The arms should be straight
- The wrists should assume a neutral position – not flexing up
If you’re new to ergonomic consulting, most experts recommend the use of:
- Kneeling chairs
- Saddle chairs
- Ergonomic stools
But with tons of working chairs in the market, ergonomics is all about focusing on the important factors.
You should pay attention to the chair you use in your workspace. The most important thing is to adjust the height. If you want a chair that can help you reach a tall desk, then you need a taller chair. Be sure to use the footrest to get the right angle.
The shape of the backrest matters. If your chair doesn’t have proper lumbar support, you should invest in the right pillow. Without the right support, you’ll feel overworked and tired.
The material of your chair matters. This is another important area in ergonomic consulting. You should focus on a material that gives ample support.
While this is something that is often overlooked, the armrests determine how comfortable you’ll feel while working on your keyboard. Through ergonomic consulting, you can find adjustable armrests that can support your forearm.
Once you invest in the best ergonomic chair, you can adjust your sitting position. This relieves tension on the lower back and allows blood to flow in all regions.
Position the monitor correctly
If you experience fatigue when working on your computer, it’s time you check the position of your monitor. A poorly placed monitor will not only trigger back pain but can also cause a headache. Through ergonomic consulting, you’ll learn a few things on how to position the monitor.
Proper monitor position
A general rule of thumb is to place the monitor at about 20 degrees. Anything higher than that can trigger neck strain. If you wear bifocals, you may want to adjust the monitor lower for comfortable viewing.
You should place the monitor at an arm’s length. If you put it too close, you may strain the eyes. Likewise, if you place it too far, you may have to slough to assume a comfortable position.
The best ergonomics consulting services recommend that you invest in good lighting to reduce eye strain. If you want to boost the wellbeing of your eyes, you need an abundance of natural lighting. Natural daylight allows your eyes to recover from any strain you encountered during the day. Perhaps, you can open the windows to allow in natural light. But if you’re working on cloudy days, overhead lighting can help.
Good lighting in your space should involve:
- Elimination of shadows or dark spots
- Picking the right color temperature
- Sufficient lighting 300 lux
What if you use a laptop?
Laptops are sleek and portable, but getting the right typing posture can be a challenge. One thing you’ll learn in ergonomic consulting is the laptop stand you use matters. You should focus on elevating the laptop to attach an external keyboard and optimize the distance between the typing surfaces and monitor.
Organize the workspace into zones
Ask any expert in ergonomic consulting, and they will tell you that the way you organize workspace will determine the level of productivity. What does this mean? If you prefer minimalist space, then your desk is the dashboard. Also, everything you need should be within an arm’s reach.
You should divide your working space into zones and arrange all your items accordingly throughout the day.
The first zone
Here, everything should be arranged horizontally, and the elbows should remain comfortably on the sides. Generally, the area should be dedicated to the mouse and keyboard. If you constantly talk to people on the telephone, you can place it on speaker or use a headset. This will prevent you from moving back and forth.
You should also keep key objects like a stapler and printed materials within an arm’s reach. Your goals should be to reach out to everything you need without standing.
This zone ensures everything is reachable without bending the waist. As far as ergonomic consulting is concerned, you should keep stationary, reference books, and notebooks within reach.
This area is the opposite of the second zone. It’s ensuring everything is reachable by bending the waist. You can reach this area without standing up, so it’s a good place to keep things that you use occasionally. It could be something like vertical shelving above the desk, etc.
Those who seek ergonomic consulting services will be advised to use the third zone to keep family photos and ornaments. Make sure there’s enough space where you can add some warmth to space but should not distract other workers.
Pick the right mouse and keyboard
The best ergonomic consulting services will ensure you have the right mouse and keyboard for your workspace. Think about it – an ergonomic mouse and keyboard will keep your body in a neutral position while working.
Be sure to get the right angle, even if it means ditching some of your current devices. And the reasons are straightforward. Poorly designed keyboards can make office workers suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis.
The sitting posture will also determine the exact position to place the keyboard. Your keyboard should be in a place that you can comfortably reach without stretching your elbows. If the keyboard has a number pad, make sure the letter `B’ is at the center of your navel.
Pay attention to the angle
The general practice is to ensure the keyboard tilts away from you instead of towards you. But because most traditional keyboards are flat, you’ll find two little feet that tilt the keyboard towards you. This can cause flexed wrists or carpal syndrome in the long-run. After you go through ergonomic consulting, you’ll learn how to use ergonomic keyboards that keep your wrist in a neutral position.
The height of your desk will tell the correct height for the mouse and keyboard. Your wrists should be straight, while the forearms should be parallel to the floor. If your keyboard is too high, you may want to use a drawer to find the right height.
An ergonomic mouse eliminates the gripping and tension on your fingers that can lead to injury or nerve pain. Some people prefer a vertical mouse because you don’t have to twist the wrist when operating it.
If possible, you can adjust the sensitivity such that you can use a light touch to operate it. How about using a mouse that fits your hand? A standard mouse can cause stress on the fingers so you should look for a device that gives a comfortable grip.
If your mouse causes fatigue on your hands, you may want to invest in a comfortable device to reduce wrist movements.
Reduce repetitive movement
Did you know that repeating the same motion over and over again can lead to injury? Thankfully, you can combat the problem by changing the tasks. Most ergonomic consulting services will emphasize changing the tasks more often. In an office setup, you can change the seat to an upright position. And you never know – changing the positions could be musculature for the task at hand.
The environmental setting involves things that surround your overall work environment like:
The lighting you use should not cause glare on computer systems. If you want to boost the productivity of your employees, be sure to use softer lighting systems. In any ergonomic consulting, experts are of the view that the lighting for computer displays may not be the best for printed material.
Tips to set up your workstation
Now that you understand what ergonomic consulting entails, here are some tips that a Philadelphia Ergonomic Consulting firm suggests to follow when setting up your workstation:
- Give yourself some space – you should use the mouse and keyboard comfortably
- Position the head directly in front of the computer
- Reduce the shadowing on the screen
- Use a separate full-sized keyboard if you’re working with a laptop
- Position the computer in a way that you don’t need to twist your neck
- Sit close to the desk
Take regular breaks
It can be rewarding to take regular breaks from your workstation. You’ll not only relax your eyes, but you also allow the brain to relax. This encourages a productive work environment.
Unlike working in an office where you can set reminders, a home workspace may require that you set reminders. You can allocate time in the calendar to walk or stretch every 60 minutes. Some of a few stretches you can pick include:
- Side bend
- Neck rotation
- Wrist bend
- Back stretches
Benefits of ergonomic consulting in your workspace
The benefits of ergonomic consulting reach far and wide. While working in an incorrect position is ignored by many, it can lead to long-term health problems.
A consulting service involves performing an ergonomic assessment and making the necessary adjustments. This gives the workers the responsibility to adjust to workstations based on morphological characteristics, product/equipment to repair, and the task to perform.
Improving the workspace means addressing the safety concerns of workers by using the right equipment. In addition to that, an ergonomically designed workstation optimizes worker’s activity and boosts productivity.
Through ergonomic consulting, employees can understand how to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and anything related to back injury. When you adjust the workstation to meet your needs, you’ll get better alignment of the body, strengthen the muscles, and improve posture.
With time, your muscles will more relaxed and less tense.
Ergonomics improve employee engagement
A happy staff means more productivity. So, if you put more effort into employee health and safety, you boost their morale.
Wrapping it up
Whether you’re a startup or an established business, you should strive to create an ergonomically sound workspace. But this doesn’t mean that you invest in fancy chairs and desks – it’s developing practices that can boost productivity and reduce injury. Proper ergonomics like good desk posture, adequate equipment spacing, and correct chair height can help you stay comfortable at work.
Are you ready to give your space a makeover? It’s time you get the best ergonomic consulting services.