Why Ergonomic Products Are Beneficial For You
"Ergonomics" comes from the combination of two Greek words: "ergon," which means work, and "nomoi,"which means natural laws. The field of ergonomics looks for ways to make the workplace more comfortable and efficient for the worker, particularly in avoiding physical stressors to joints, muscles and nerves.
With so many people spending their workday sitting in front of a computer – a position that is not natural for the body to hold for long periods of time – cumulative stress contributes to problems like:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Back and neck pain
- Poor posture
- Eye strain, including blurriness, eye pain, dry eyes and reduced focusing ability
Because most of these problems come on slowly, it’s often difficult to recognize them until pain becomes severe enough to limit function. Ergonomically designed workstations help to prevent damage before it begins, leading to a more comfortable and healthy workplace.
What Does An Ergonomic Workstation Look Like?
Your desk, chair and computer should work together to create a workstation that is comfortable, lets you move freely, keeps you productive and doesn’t strain or tire your body.
- Your desk should be at the height that keeps your arms at a 90-degree angle while typing.
- There should be plenty of knee room under the desk and space to change your leg position periodically.
- If using a footrest, the desk should still permit room for moving your legs.
- Your desk needs to be big enough to fit your computer, papers, books and other work essentials. You should never need to prop items on a chair or twist your neck to view materials.
- Use a document holder if you are taking notes from a book or papers. This avoids eyestrain and neck pain.
What Is The Best Way To Sit?
Sitting for hour after hour is very stressful for your body, leading to back pain, headache, posture problems and even conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. You should get up and stretch or walk around your office periodically throughout the day and shift your position frequently. Participating in various office-friendly workout exercises will also help you stay fit.
What’s more, a good office chair makes a big difference in your comfort and health. It’s also one of the best investments you can make to improve the way you feel at the end of the day.
- The height should be adjustable, so that your feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest, and your thighs are horizontal.
- The seat needs to be wide enough for comfort and deep enough so you can sit with your back against the chair’s backrest without pressure against your knees. You can add a lumbar support cushion to your chair if it doesn’t have enough support on its own.
- Avoid painful pressure and risk of blood clots with a chair that has a padded, gently sloping front edge of the seat.
- A swivel chair lets you move freely to pick up items or reach across your desk without straining your back.
- The back of the chair should provide firm support for your back, keeping a 90-degree angle between your spine and thighs.
- If you have armrests, they should keep a 90-degree angle in your elbows while resting. Don’t keep your arms on an armrest while typing.
- The chair should be padded enough for comfort, but also breathable enough to keep you from sweating.
How About Your Computer?
Hours spent staring at a computer monitor is hard on your eyes, neck, shoulders and back. A correctly positioned monitor and keyboard will help prevent pain.
- Position your monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level, or just slightly lower. You should not have to curve your neck up or down to look at your computer.
- Laptops are not suited for long hours of work, as the screen is too low for comfort. If you primarily work on a laptop, use a riser to position the screen at eye level, with a separate keyboard and mouse for typing.
- Your monitor should be between 18 and 24 inches away from your eyes.
- There should be no glare or flickering lights reflecting off your monitor.
- While using your keyboard, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle and your wrists relaxed in a natural position.
- Wrist supports or rests are useful if they keep your lower arm in proper alignment. Be careful that the wrist support is not too high, bending your wrists in an awkward angle or causing you to hold your arms pressed against your body.
An ergonomically designed workstation will make your day much more comfortable and leave you free of aches, pains and stiffness by the end of the day. Whether you work from the corner office of a large corporation, a small cubicle, a home office or even at your kitchen table, your workspace should be set up to keep you in proper alignment and working efficiently.