Are You Sitting Comfortably? Why Its Time To Evaluate Your Office Ergonomics
- February 28, 2023
It’s no secret that modern-day life has us spending a large chunk of our waking hours seated at a desk. In fact, a staggering 90,000 hours of our lifetime is spent at work – using a computer or working with other office equipment. But, did you know that our work environment can greatly impact our physical and mental well-being?
With most office jobs requiring prolonged periods of computer and equipment use, it’s no wonder that work-related injuries, especially repetitive strain injuries, are a leading cause of medical leave. That is why the need for an ergonomically correct office is important. Ergonomics is a modern word coined from two Greek words – Ergon, meaning work, and nomoi, meaning natural laws. The goal of office ergonomics is to design your office workstation in such a way that it fits you and allows for a comfortable working environment for maximum productivity and efficiency. In fact, according to the Thesaurus dictionary, office ergonomics is synonymous with workplace efficiency and user-friendly systems. A workspace designed with ergonomics in mind can significantly reduce the risk of physical pain and discomfort, such as back strains and repetitive strain injuries. Not to mention, it can also alleviate common issues like eye strain and headaches caused by improper lighting and screen placement.
But, it’s not just about physical comfort. An ergonomic work environment can greatly improve an employee’s mental well-being. By reducing stress and promoting concentration, employees can flourish in a workspace that supports their work. This leads to greater job satisfaction, a reduction in anxiety, and a more positive state of mind. When employees feel their physical needs are met, they are more likely to feel valued by their employer, leading to a stronger emotional connection to the company and a greater sense of commitment.
Employers can also demonstrate their commitment to their employee’s health and well-being by providing ergonomic equipment and promoting healthy work practices. Some employers even go ahead to conduct their own DSE Risk Assessments. A DSE Risk Assessment includes a checklist of all aspects of the office station. This can create a positive and supportive workplace culture, resulting in a more motivated and engaged workforce, and reduced turnover, and absenteeism.
So, how do you create a more ergonomic work environment in your business?
You may want to start by doing the following:
Proper chair selection: Ensure that chairs have adjustable features such as height, tilt, and armrests to allow employees to find a comfortable position. An ergonomic chair provides support for your lower back, hips, and legs. It should be adjustable to fit your body and provide proper posture when sitting.
Desk height: There is also the option of a treadmill/walking desk as a 2023 article from Irish Examiner has stated that sitting for eight or more hours per day can be linked to a 20% higher risk of getting heart disease or dying from any cause, compared to those who sat for half that time.
Keyboard and mouse: Ensure that keyboards and mouse are positioned at a comfortable distance and height, and that wrist pads are provided to reduce pressure on the wrist. Your keyboard and mouse should be positioned directly in front of you and close to your body, to minimize awkward reaching and twisting. Additionally, a wrist rest can help reduce the strain on your wrists and forearms.
Monitor placement: Make sure that monitors are placed at eye level to reduce neck strain and are positioned at a comfortable distance from the user. Your monitor should be positioned directly in front of you, at a comfortable distance and height. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level, and the screen should be large enough to allow you to read the text without straining your eyes.
Lighting: Adequate lighting is important for reducing eye strain and creating a comfortable work environment. Place your desk near a window or invest in a task light if needed.
Exercise and screen breaks:
If you have employees or you yourself work from home – even on a hybrid basis, you can also benefit from an ergonomically compliant space and there are a wealth of resources online that provide further tips and guidelines for the home office. This could mean creating a designated workspace, taking regular breaks, and establishing a fixed work schedule.
Ultimately, incorporating ergonomic principles in the workspace can bring immense benefits to both employees and your business. By creating a workspace that prioritizes comfort and safety, employees are more likely to experience reduced stress levels, improved posture, and a decrease in workplace injuries.
As discussed in our recent blog, this investment in their well-being will speak volumes about the company’s commitment to their employees and contribute to a stronger employer value proposition (EVP), which encompasses all elements of the employment experience, including the physical work environment.
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