Ergonomics is “the study of people’s efficiency in their work environments” as defined by the Oxford Dictionary. However, when it comes to creating an ergonomically friendly office space, the definition goes a step further to include designing a workspace to increase efficiencies in the workplace. Proper office ergonomics take the capabilities, limitations, and circumstances of each employee to optimize the interaction between them and their workspaces.
If you work in an office using computers or sit at a desk all day, it’s crucial to have a workspace set up to properly support your body. Without proper ergonomics, you’re more at risk for injury, potential illness, and discomfort at work. Positive ergonomic practices, however, result in higher productivity, better health, and employee happiness.
Office Ergonomics Best Practices
When it comes to creating the best office space for yourself, there are several areas to focus on. For the most part, they include your immediate work area — ie., your desk and chair. If you’re not sure how to create a more ergonomically-friendly workspace for yourself, try using Ergotron’s workspace planner tool to find the right options for you.
One of the most highly-debated subjects in terms of desks is the argument for or against standing desks. So, which is better for you? The answer is both. There are drawbacks to spending too much time sitting or standing. Sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk of various health issues, including diabetes and cancer. Conversely, spending too much time on your feet has been linked to cardiovascular problems and varicose veins.
Ideally, you should alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. We recommend using a desk that can be adjusted for both sitting and standing positions or providing standing desks around the office for intermittent use.
For the parts of the day you spend sitting, you should be sure you’re using an ergonomic chair. That means your chair should be adjustable in terms of the backrest, armrests, and chair height so you can tailor each to your individual needs. You should have swivel and roll functions to help make movements as natural as possible while in the seated position. Additionally, your chair should provide lumbar support for the curved area of your back.
Benefits of Proper Office Ergonomics
Having solid workspace ergonomics provide benefits to both the employees and the employers, ranging from happier staff to reduced costs for business.
Aside from the lower risk of health issues and cardiovascular conditions linked to sitting or standing for too long, one of the most important advantages of employing proper office ergonomics is healthier employees. In fact, a CDC study found that sit/stand desks reduced neck and back pain in employees.
Aside from that, repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are one of the most common side effects of poor ergonomics. RSIs result from overuse of a particular muscle or muscle group and are closely associated with the repetitive movements of working at a desk. By employing proper ergonomics, you’ll be able to lower your risk of s RSIs.
Happiness and Productivity
By paying closer attention to employee health and wellness, you make them feel much more valued by the business and let them know their comfort is important to you. Employees who feel valued are much more likely to work productively and be willing to go the extra mile and will ultimately earn more money for the business. Additionally, office ergonomics will help employees to stay healthier, fitter, and more energetic. A 7-week study reported employees with the option for standing desks had more energy and vigor throughout the day.