Creating an Ergonomically-Optimized Workspace

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Creating an Ergonomically-Optimized Workspace

MARK G. MCLAUGHLIN

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 - 11:45 AM



The human body wasnot meant to be sitting, let alone hunched over all day. Unfortunately,office work can be largely composed of just that. Prolonged sitting willhave your neck, shoulder, back and other body partseventually screaming for relief. Working with computers only exacerbatesthe strain and pain, which can lead to repetitive motion injuries, pinchednerves and other health problems.

There are ways toavoid or at least reduce all of this. Modifying your work environment into anergonomic workspace will make a major difference in employee health, comfortand company productivity.

The computerscreen
Traditional desks require workers to be hunched over, looking down at ledgers,signing off on paperwork or crunching numbers on adding machines. When officesbegan using computers regularly, screens and keyboards were merely justplaced on an old desk. A riser could be added to raise the screen toeye-level, but were not easily adjustable and fairly ineffective on their own.

There are manyways to raise up a screen, from higher risers to adjustable arms. A screenraised to the correct height forces workers to sit up straight, whichis the way the head, neck and shoulders work best together. A screen thatis too low requires workers to slouch, hunch over and collapse inward ratherthan sit up with proper posture. Staring at screens all day can also leadto headaches, eye strain and other vision problems, so consider an anti-glareshield.

Customizable chairis key
Too many offices have vanilla, one-size-fits all chairs. Office chairs need tobe adjustable, as not everyone in an office is the same height, weight orbuild. All chairs should offer adjustable backrests, armrestsand seats to promote better sitting posture. A comfortablecushion and some form of proper lumbar support is a priority. For mobility, youcan add features that allow you to swivel or roll around, which letsemployees move about rather than twist or reach in manner that might causea strain or other injury.

Standing desks andergonomic desks
Sitting for long periods of time is harmful to anyone, but it can also causepreexisting conditions to be very painful and potentially worsen. A standingdesk is an effective solution for anyone uncomfortable sitting orjust wanting an alternative to a traditional desk.

A high table,podium or an adjustable drawing table can be used instead. Adjustabledesks can also be modified and altered to meet the needs of an employee orspecific job. It's not necessary to stand all day at your standingdesk to reap the benefits. There are a variety of furniture options, such askneelers to accommodate those wanting more support. Ergonomic desksare also easily available, which are scientifically designed to makeworking at a desk easier on the body. These desks encourage you to properlysit, position and maneuver yourself beneficial to your physique, especiallyover an extended time.

Get up and move
There are many little things that can be done to make your workspace healthier.You could place wrist cushions between yourself and your keyboardor encourage employees to leave their computers to quickly grab a neededwork item. The simplest, easiest and cost-free option is to just get upand move.

An alarm canbe set to remind workers they need to take a pause from theircomputer, stand up, walk around, stretch or otherwise move for a few minutes.Computer programs are also available that require someone to addressan alarm, and although a snooze option is offered, the screenwill darken or the computer will eventually lock up, encouragingyou to leave your desk for a moment. Most employees will soon seethat by getting up, stretching, moving about and walking even for a minute willfeel better an improve work efficiency.


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