Better Workplace Ergonomics for a Better Life

ergonomicsWalk into any office across the country and you will usually see at least a few people sitting in a very uncomfortable and poor ergonomic position. This is despite more awareness of workplace ergonomics. Most companies consider the prevention of numerous musculoskeletal problems as one of the most important ways of improving workplace productivity.

Are you aware that musculoskeletal problems are one of the most common reasons for workplace absences? Poor workplace ergonomics results in thousands of hours of lost workplace productivity. Back and neck pain leads to costly and time-consuming treatment for employees. However, many neck and back problems could be prevented by doing a very simple audit of the existing ergonomic position of most workers.

Here are some ways to prevent major health problems through better ergonomics.

Consider a Standing Workstation

It is unusual to walk into an office and see someone standing while typing on their computer but the health benefits of a standing workstation have been researched and proven by musculoskeletal experts. It is well known that sitting for a long time is related to many health conditions including obesity, blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain.

Here are some other ways to improve ergonomics;

  1. Consider the positioning and height of the chair in relation to the computer. Both feet should rest flat on the floor with the knees level slightly lower than the hips or perfectly in line. The chair should recline at 10°-20° degrees from an upright position. Lumbar support is required and the upper back should be considered.
  2. Sit close to a keyboard only with a central position. The keyboard position may change depending on the work being completed. Shoulders should be loose. Wrists and hands should be straight. A palm rest or adjustable keyboard can be used for a straight wrist as well. The mouse should be close to the keyboard. The mouse pad may be inclined for wrist arm and neck support.
  3. The monitor is to be in front at all times should be an arm’s length away. The top of the monitor is to be 5-8 cm above the eye level when seated. Adjustments to the monitor brightness or office lighting may also be required.
  4. The phone should be close to the body Do not put the phone between shoulder and the ear in order to type.

Remember that better ergonomics may not seem beneficial in the short term but over time the benefits of better a better sitting or standing position results in less musculoskeletal and health problems. Following a few simple steps such as considering the sitting or standing position, chair position, placement of the monitor and looking at the position of the body in relation to other office equipment will prevent many health issues in the future. A standing workstation may also be one of the best ways of preventing for neck, back, wrist and spinal problems. The result is better posture, health and an overall better life.