Turn your office into an ergonomic wonderland, one optimised for productivity, efficiency and wellbeing. Read on to find out how!
Sitting and being sedentary for most of your day is detrimental to your wellbeing. In addition to causing physical discomfort, an ill-designed workspace can lead to various lifestyle diseases.
According to a previous All Office blog written by Ergonomic consultant, Dale Kennedy,
“Office work dictates that the majority of employees are required to remain stationary for prolonged periods. What happens to a car that is parked and not moved for a long period? It slowly rusts and breaks down; the same principle can be applied to the human body and office work.”
Fortunately, you can sidestep this fate by taking your office design to the next level. Make sure you tick off every item on our office ergonomics checklist to transform a bland, backache-inducing space into an ergonomic workstation that improves wellness.
What is Office Ergonomics?
Office ergonomics refers to the study of elements that influence how efficient people are in their environment. According to Dohrmann Consulting,
“Ergonomics aims to improve workspaces and environments to minimise risk of injury or harm. So as technologies change, so too does the need to ensure that the tools we access for work, rest and play are designed for our body’s requirements.”
Office ergonomics focus on the overall design of the room and design of equipment and objects. By choosing ergonomic furniture and accessories, you limit pain and discomfort derived from working with ill befit objects and furniture. Giving your office an ergonomic update leads to increased productivity and employee attendance.
Implementing ergonomics in your office space is easy, once you have the checklist. Luckily, we’ve set up the list for you. Be sure to tick off the items you already have and focus on those you still need to take your office to the next, health-supporting, level.
Ergonomic Desk Chair: Take Care of Your Posterior, Spine and Lower Limbs
Not only is an ergonomic chair comfortable, it also looks good. This type of seating often has multiple adjusting parts that can shift and tilt to suit each person individually. The problem-solving design makes office seating equally useful and beautiful.
An ergonomic desk chair provides support where you need it most – your spine. If you sit on a conventional chair for most of your workday, you’ll start to feel the effects of poor back support: stress on your joints, back and neck pain, blood circulation issues and muscle tension.
The wonder of an ergonomic chair is that helps to keep your spine aligned, and to take the pressure and strain off of your shoulders and various other parts of the body.
3 Perks of Having the Best Ergonomic Office Chair
Your posture will improve by merely swopping your chair for an ergonomic one. The unique shape of an ergonomic office chair mimics the natural lordotic curve of your spine. This added support coaxes you into the ideal sitting position, with head, neck and shoulders correctly aligned.
Ergonomic chairs rival orthopaedic chairs for back pain as they eliminate the factors that cause aches, muscle fatigue and ligament wear and tear. Thanks to an ergonomic chair’s height-adjustable seat, tilting backrest and movable armrests you can find the perfect position for you.
Superior cushioning and padding ensure that an ergonomic desk chair delivers on comfort, every time you take a seat.
2. Ergonomic Desk: Space for You and the Tools of Your Trade
Your perfect ergonomic fit in terms of your office desk depends greatly on how you work and what you do. Rectangular desks work in most instances and suit most interiors; square desks can aid concentration when you’re working on one task at a time; flowy-shaped desks can encourage creativity.
However, the basic requirements of an ergonomic desk are the same.
- You need sufficient clearance below the surface to bend and move your legs (i.e. crossing and uncrossing your legs)
- Your desktop needs to be ample enough for you to arrange the items you need on your desk without causing it to feel cluttered
- It needs to include sufficient storage space or a dedicated area where storage or filling can be incorporated
3. Foot Rest Under Your Ergonomic Desk
A footrest assists the efforts of an ergonomic chair and desk. Sitting with your feet at an added angle puts less strain on your lower limbs, and can help reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, improve blood circulation and relieve lower back pain even more.
4. Ergonomic Sit-to-Stand Desks or Sit-Stand Desk Converters
Moving is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A sit-stand desk converter helps you to move more without much effort. Simply adjust the way you work every half hour, taking care not to stand or sit for longer than two hours. Intermittent standing has a range of other benefits.
Apart from improving physical wellbeing, switching between sit and standing has a positive impact on the following:
- Quality of life
- Office culture
If you do decide to upgrade to a sit-stand desk converter, get an anti-fatigue mat to keep your feet supported while you’re standing.
5. Adjustable Monitor
Those who require two monitors to do their work efficiently will benefit from investing in a support frame for a dual monitor. However, if you plan on getting a sit-stand desk converter, opt for the dual monitor version to forego having to purchase another supporting frame. Ensure that you get an adjustable monitor that can swerve and tilt to serve your needs.
6. Office Light Ergonomics
Light can make an incredible difference in the way you work, eyes deteriorate with inadequate lighting, which affects vision sharpness, focus, depth perception and sensitivity. Headaches are also a common side effect of poor lightening. That’s why it’s vital to set up your office with the ergonomic alternative.
Getting this ergonomic variable right is a fuss-free endeavour. Focus on three key areas: intensity, placement and colour temperature.
Target the Right Places
Avoid light reflecting in your monitor by ensuring the screen does not face a window or light source. Place an adjustable task light on your desk, preferably where you’ll need to focus bright light the most, like a writing corner.
Find the Just-Right Intensity
You need three levels of light to get your office ergonomics right: ambient, task and accent. Ambient refers to the overall lighting in the room; this is often dim and needs supplementary light. However, if the ambient lighting is too bright, it’s best to remove one or two lightbulbs to tone down the intensity.
Choose the Bulb with the Correct Colour Temperature
Colour temperature refers to the red (aka warm) or blue (aka cool) tone of a lightbulb. Warmer light is better for an ergonomic workstation as it does not interfere with the human circadian rhythm (our natural regulator of our wakeful or sleepy states). However, blue light may be best in a factory where detailed work and high levels of alertness are required.
8. Ergonomic Laptop Stand
If you use a laptop most of the time, chances are, you’re working in one of the least ergonomic positions possible. An ergonomic laptop stand and extra keyboard can solve this problem. By lifting the device, you raise your screen to where it ought to be – just below eye level. The added keyboard will keep you in the correct sitting position, that is, with your arms bent at a 90° angle while typing.
Bonus: Ergonomic Workstation Setup
If you have all that you need to create the most efficiently designed workspace, the final step is to get the layout right to ensure that your office is as ergonomic as possible and that it has a few additional pieces that keep you positive.
Office Ergonomic Positioning
Set yourself up for success by setting up your office furniture and equipment to suit your individual needs.
Start with your ergonomic desk’s height – it should be high enough for you to freely move your legs around underneath it but low enough for you to sit on your chair with both of your feet on the ground.
Adjust your monitor so that it is 40-76cm from your eyes. The top of your screen should be just below eye level.
Make sure your chair is adapted to your height. You should be able to rest your feet flat on the floor while you’re sitting, and the armrests should support your arms when they are not resting on the table.
Your arms should be bent at a 90° angle when typing or working at your desk.
Placement of Key Objects
The arrangement of the items on your ergonomic desk greatly influences your efficiency. Keep a neat setup, with the essentials within reach – telephone, computer, keyboard and mouse, and drawers with supplies neatly packed away. You should be able to move freely within your desk’s vicinity without knocking anything over or having to manoeuvre around objects. Most importantly, avoid clutter.
Mood Enhancing Extras
Technically, mood-enhancing items do not aid the ergonomics of your office but they can lift your spirits. Be sure to add a personal touch to your workstation – a cherished photo, an inspirational book, beautiful notebooks – anything that makes you feel good. And add a plant! Greenery can make you feel calm and relaxed. Plus, it will make your desk pop! Just remember not to go overboard, less is still more when it comes to office ergonomics.