For many of us, working at a desk (whether in a corporate office or at home) is a standard part of our jobs. But is your office setup right for you? This is where ergonomics can help!
Have you ever noticed how a comfortable office chair can help you feel more relaxed, more focused and less sore afterwards? Well, science shows that an office environment designed to accommodate the physical needs of employees can help prevent injuries caused by poor posture. In fact, one study noted that providing ergonomic workstations and chairs can help increase productivity by 15%.
There are many aspects to consider in workspace ergonomics, such as what equipment to use and how best to set it up. In truth, ergonomics is about you, what's available to you, and the alternative solutions you can use if you need to try something different. Ergonomics also includes how to take care of your body through rest, exercise, etc.
First, keep these main considerations in mind:
Your posture: how you stand or sit and what pressure you feel in your body
Time: The length of time someone performs a task
General environment: how warm or cold the room is and the lighting
Next, consider your workspace equipment:
Work surface: Traditional desk, adjustable desk, table, or countertop
Seat: Traditional chair, ergonomic chair, or something else
Technology: Laptop, desktop computer, keyboard, mouse, monitor, docking station, table.
Start with a posture scan, or the way you measure your neutral posture and how your posture makes your body feel. It’s also great to check your posture during your workday to see how your body is doing. A neutral posture allows our bodies to be in the best position, with fewer forces and more opportunities for our muscles, joints, blood vessels, and nerves to be in good positions.
Setting up your workspace: We’re going to build upon what you learned from your Posture Scan by setting up your workspace to meet your needs. If you need support for this next part, see if you can have a second person observe your posture. Alternatively, put a mirror next to you, so you can observe yourself.
Move, Stretch and Massage: Another key part of ergonomics is moving your body. Even with a workspace that supports your ideal position, we need movement to nourish our bodies. These exercises, stretches, and self-massage are great preventive measures that you can incorporate into your self-care routine. Choose the movement that works for you, whether it's small movements or a lot of movement, sitting or standing, as many times as you like. As you build your routine, don't forget to stretch to help relieve tension.