Office ergonomics deals with the arrangement of the workstation to suit the worker thereby preventing the development of musculoskeletal disorders and enhances productivity. It considers an interaction between the worker, the work and the workstation.
According to OSHA – Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demand to the capabilities of the working population.
Office ergonomics mainly considers workstation design – This will include choice of sit, height of the sit, sit fittings like hand rest, lumbar support; table height compared to the sit, foot rest, material placement on the table, etc. All this will be determined by the worker who will be working on the work station. The workstation for a tall person may not fit a short person; while the workstation for a fat person may not fit a slim person. The work station design must fit the worker to remove the incompatibilities and allow for maximum safe job performance.
Moreover, investing in proper office ergonomics has numerous benefits. These include:
- Reduced risk of injuries: Poor ergonomics can lead to a variety of musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and back pain. You can reduce the risk of these injuries by having an ergonomically correct work environment.
- Increased productivity: When employees are comfortable and pain-free, they’re more likely to be productive. Good ergonomics can help improve productivity by reducing fatigue and distractions.
- Improved morale: Employees who feel that their employer is concerned about their health and well-being are more likely to be satisfied with their job. An ergonomically designed workplace can help enhance morale by making work more comfortable and enjoyable.
- Reduced absenteeism: Employees who are injured or uncomfortable at work are more likely to call in sick. Good ergonomics can lower absenteeism by preventing injuries and discomfort.
- Lower healthcare costs: The cost of treating musculoskeletal disorders can be high. With proper ergonomics, you can minimize these costs by preventing accidents and injuries.
By understanding these benefits, you’ll understand the importance of using proper ergonomics in creating a healthy and productive work environment.
Some Office Ergonomics Tips
Now that you understand the importance of creating an ergonomically correct work environment, it’s time to familiarize yourself with some ergonomics examples and tips that you can use to improve your workspace. These include:
- Use a chair which supports you maximally; it should be consistent with your body weight. Also the chair may need to be adjusted so that your foot will not hang on the air. Your foot should rest flat of the floor or on the foot rest.
- There should be enough clearance under your desk to allow free movement for your legs. It should give you enough space so that you can position your legs adequately and freely.
- Your chair should be adjustable with lumbar support, arm rest and foot rest. The arm rest, lumbar support and foot rest should be adequate to support you weight in those areas. Also, the chair has to be adjustable to allow you set the right height which will fit the table height.
- Place your monitor about an arm’s-length away directly in front of you. This will help reduce the direct screen light entering your eyes.
- The height of the monitor should not be above your eye level.
- Take steps to control screen glare.
- The monitor should not be placed in front of the window or a bright this background as these will increase screen glare.
- Your eyes should be taken off the screen intermittently. Look at objects at distance for some seconds to give your eyes rest.
- Placement of materials on your desk should be accurate. Materials should not be placed too far from you so that you won’t need to stretch to pick them up. Some of these materials are your keyboard, mouse, telephone, stapler, printing materials, printer, scanner, etc.
- Move your chair close enough to your desk to avoid leaning and reaching.
Investing in office ergonomics can be essential as it can help create an ergonomically correct work environment. Therefore, whether you’re an employer or an employee, keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re comfortable, happy, and productive at work.