Ergonomics: Optimizing Your Workspace

Are you looking to make your office ergonomically friendly? Or maybe you’re not entirely sure what ergonomics is, but you want to try it? Are you tired of your back aching every time you get home from work? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this post is for you!


What is Ergonomics? 

Applied ergonomics is the optimization of workspace and the tools within it to minimize fatigue and injury created by humans using that workspace. To put it simply, it means designing a space or work area so that you’re encouraged to use it in a way that’s most healthy for your body. 

In our last blog post, we talked about how moving away from a sedentary workspace and into a more active one through the use of sit to stand desks may be the most important part about making your office healthy. This time around, we’ll be discussing little adjustments you can make within your work area to make it more comfortable and healthy to use.


Monitor Height

A lot of standard monitor stands don’t allow for height adjustment at all and are set way too low to the desk, forcing you to bend over your desk to properly view the screen. You can fix this by purchasing a universal monitor stand that provides height adjustment, buying a monitor riser, or in a pinch, setting your monitor on a stack of books. (Let’s be honest, you weren’t going to read those anyway.)

We suggest having your monitor(s) adjusted so that your eye-line is within the top third of the screen. We’ve found the optimum monitor height is a bit different for everyone and can change depending on monitor size, so adjust to your best comfort level.

If you share a workstation with someone else, or you’re constantly switching between sitting and standing, you might want to invest in a monitor stand with a pneumatic arm. These can be adjusted to the weight of your monitor, allowing you to change the height of your screen whenever you want - no tools, no hassle.


Keyboard Height

When typing at your desk, it’s important that your keyboard sits at or below your elbows. This allows you to bend and relax your wrists, which prevents problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. If your desk is too high, try mounting a sliding keyboard tray to the underside of your desktop, or even better, avoid the hassle of drilling and get one that clamps right on!

If you have a foam pad on your desk or keyboard tray, don’t use it to rest your wrists! This will give you serious problems in the long term. Instead, rest your palms on it. This will keep your wrists relaxed and healthy.


Proper seated position

ergonomic sitting position

In general, you’ll want your seat height so that your feet can be firmly planted on the ground and your back fully supported by your chair. Having a chair that allows reclining while you work is not only okay, it’s encouraged! While not as effective as switching between sitting and standing, varying between a reclined seated position and an upright sitting position is still a great way to add a little movement to your workday.

Ergonomics is a deep topic with a wide range of study. We hope these tips give you a good jumping off point, but we encourage you to research to make sure your workspace is optimized for your specific needs. If you have a consistent recurring problem that might be able to be solved by enhancing your workspace, ask your doctor or consult a licensed ergonomist.

 

Thanks for reading!

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