The 10 BEST Ergonomic Tips To Immediately Improve Your Workspace
Hi there! And welcome to the exciting world of office ergonomics.
(crickets)…(tumbleweed roles by)…(someone sneezes)…(blank stares)…
Ok, fine. Ergonomics might not be exciting, but it is extremely important.
Workspaces that are setup ergonomically come with a variety of benefits. Besides maybe the most obvious benefit of being more comfortable, an ergonomically designed workspace is also safer and more efficient.
What does this mean for you? For starters, it means you can get more done in less time. Cool, right? But wait! It also means less headaches, neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel, and all those other not-so-fun things that often come about when working at a computer.
If all this sounds good to you, pull up an ergonomically approved chair, and let’s get to it.
What The Heck Is Ergonomics Anyways?
What a great question. Basically, the goal of ergonomics is to customize your workspace to fit your specific needs.
Sound simple? That’s because it is. If you’re tall, your workspace should be adjusted to fit a taller person. If you’re short, your workspace should be adjusted to fit a smaller person. It’s really that simple.
However, although the concept is simple, the solutions aren’t always so obvious. And that’s where this post comes in. The following 10 tips will help you setup your workspace ergonomically, and when followed, can help make your workspace more efficient, more comfortable, and safer for you.
Are you ready to find out what those tips are? Great! I now present to you…
The 10 Best Ergonomic Tips To Improve Your Workspace Immediately
A Quick Note: Don’t be afraid to modify the following tips to fit your specific needs. Oftentimes, workspaces will have physical limitations, or barriers, that limit what can and can not be accommodated. In these cases just do the best you can. It sure beats doing nothing.
Tip #1: Monitor Height
When seated fully upright and back into your chair, your eyes should be centered in the upper 1/3 of your screen. This keeps your neck in a neutral and relaxed position.
A monitor that is too low can easily be propped up with phone books or something similar. However, if you’re looking for something more professional, you can always check out these monitor stands from Amazon.
Tip #2: Monitor Position
The ideal placement for your monitor is just over arms reach away and directly in front of you. A monitor placed too far, too close, or off to the side can lead to eye strain and awkward postures.
Increasing font size can help if you have trouble viewing your screen from this distance.
Tip #3: Reduce Glare
Glare on your computer screen from a nearby window or overhead light is never fun. To eliminate glare, position your monitor at right angles to windows and away from overhead lights.
If this isn’t possible, a monitor glare screen can be a simple and inexpensive solution.
Tip #4: Chair Height
Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor when seated fully back into your chair. This lessens pressure on the back of your thighs and can help improve circulation.
Adjustable foot rests are recommended if this isn’t possible.
Tip #5: Arm Positioning
Assuming your chair has arm rests (which it should), you should be able to relax your arms down to your sides and have your elbows supported and bent to about 90° or slightly more. This helps to lessen strain on your neck and shoulders and can greatly increase your level of comfort throughout the day.
Tip #6: Wrist Position
When typing, your wrists should be as neutral as possible when viewed from the top and sides. Any deviation from neutral increases strain and can eventually lead to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle strains.
Tip #7: Chair Size
Their should be two to three inches of space between the seat pan (the part you sit on) and the back of your lower legs when seated fully back into your chair. A chair that pushes against the back of your legs can impede circulation and make it very uncomfortable.
If you find your chair is too big you should definitely consider investing in a new one. Just be sure to first read my post on how to pick out the perfect desk chair. You can find all that information here.
Tip #8: Support Your Back
Maintaining good posture is important. And one of the easiest ways to do that is by supporting your back.
If your chair doesn’t already have one, you should consider investing in a separate lumbar support that you can place onto your existing chair. These are great as you can easily raise or lower them to fit your individual needs.
Tip #9: Keep Frequently Used Objects Close
Anything done repetitively has the potential to cause injury. This is why it’s very important to keep items you use frequently within easy reach.
What’s considered easy reach? If you reaching for something requires you to bend forward or strain even just a little, it’s not within easy reach.
Tip #10: Mouse Type and Positioning
Finding the right mouse is important.You might already be aware, but I was shocked to see just how many different kinds of mice there are to choose from. Don’t be afraid to try the different models and find the one that works best for you.
As for positioning, you want your mouse as close to you as possible. Constantly having to “reach” for your mouse, even if just a little, can lead to problems. One simple way to do this is with a keyboard that has a mouse pad built into it such as Logitech’s Wireless Touch Keyboard.
Additionally, if you’re not big on using the 10-key (number pad) on your keyboard, try switching to one that excludes this feature such as these ergonomic keyboards from Kinesis. This takes a few inches of the length of a keyboard and allows you to bring your mouse much closer.
A Quick Note On Laptop Computers
By itself, a laptop cannot be used ergonomically. In order to make a laptop ergonomic, you must invest in three things.
The first is an adjustable laptop riser. This will allow you to raise your laptop to the recommended viewing height shared in tip #1 above. The second is a separate keyboard. This will allow your arms to remain in a relaxed position down at your sides while typing. Lastly, you need a separate mouse. This will allow you to use the mouse without having to reach for your laptop.
As mentioned, feel free to tweak the tips shared above to fit your individual needs. You might find that you like your monitor a little lower or your chair a little higher. It’s all ok as long as it works for you.
Do you have products or ideas that can help others improve their ergonomic situation? Please share below.
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