6 tips to help improve your work environment
Ergonomics is the science that aims to learn about human abilities and limitations and then apply those learnings to improve people’s interaction with products, environments, and systems. At the office, ergonomics is about providing comfortable and safe working environments for maximum productivity and efficient performance.
An ergonomically designed workstation can help you avoid fatigue and protect you from injury. Here are 6 tips to help improve your work environment:
1. Keep the Weight of Your Head Directly Above the Neck
Your neck and shoulders muscles can be injured if your head is not kept directly above your neck for a long period of time. Adjust the monitor so that it is directly in front of you with the top of the monitor no higher than eye level. The keyboard and mouse should be in front of the monitor to avoid frequent turns of your head and neck.
2. Keep an Organized Workspace
A properly arranged workspace allows neutral posture while also improving efficiency. Have adequate workspace for all equipment, documents, etc. needed for all tasks. Workspace items should be organized according to frequent, occasional, and rare use. Items that are used most should be closest to you within an arm’s length, followed by occasional and then rare use.
3. Check Chair and Armrest Heights
Chair height should be adjusted so that feet are flat on the floor. Footrests can be used as support. Armrests are intended to gently support arms during resting periods, not for extended periods of time. Use of armrests should not cause shrugging or tensing of the shoulders. Ideally, the armrests should be positioned to support the forearms in a 90-degree position.
4. Adjust Your Light Source
Light sources should be arranged to provide adequate illumination. If your monitor is placed in front of a window or a bright background, use an anti-glare screen protector or close the blinds to avoid straining your eyes.
5. Take Breaks
Allowing yourself to take breaks when using any illuminated device is crucial for giving your eyes a rest. Staring for long periods of time at the illuminated screen can cause eye strain and headaches, as well as more serious problems like Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Rest your eyes periodically for several seconds by looking at objects at a distance to give your eyes a break.
6. Stretch Often
There are many benefits to stretching. Stretching enables flexibility, increases stamina, promotes blood circulation, and decreases the risk of injury. It’s important to stretch the individual parts of your body that are involved in your device use (such as your fingers, wrists, and forearms). Stretching will help you stay loose and avoid pain.
Recently, Synectics offered personalized ergonomic assessments as one of the activities during our corporate Wellness Day. One of my coworkers said, “I’ve noticed improvements in my energy levels and circulation by making minor adjustments such as lowering my chair so that my feet remain flat on the floor and lowering my monitor to my eye level.”