Ergonomic principles can help improve your work efficiency and overall physical wellbeing. Workplace ergonomics deal with identifying workplace factors that can be negatively attributed to our health. This can include posture, desk, chair, and laptop position, as well as neck pain and back pain. We like to think that if you follow basic ergonomic principles below, you’ll start feeling significantly better. We’ve all been through those dog days at work where we come home with a sore back and eyes.
Well, we’re here to help eliminate, or at least help alleviate those issues for you.
In the following, we’ll tackle specific ergonomic principles that can be used to improve your health during your time at the office.
Posture is paramount. We mean it. It’s significantly important to keep a neutral posture when sitting or standing. This can help reduce the amount of stress you place on your joints and muscles. By keeping your joints aligned, you overall just feel better. Proper posture promotes maximum your muscles, tendons, and nerves to perform at peak levels. You don’t want to have an awkward posture while sitting at your desk. This includes extreme ranges of excessive motion. You also don’t want to be hunched over at all. You want your back to feel straight and comfortable. A lot of lower back pain comes from poor body posture at the office.
Poor lighting can contribute to eye stress. It can also overall affect your sense of comfort, which can decrease your ability to adequately perform at work. Too much, too little, or even the wrong lighting can make your work difficult. If you want to minimize eye stress and maximize comfort, you should work in an area with an adjustable lighting system. Areas that are poorly lit can cause headaches and eye fatigue.
Additionally, something you should keep in mind is your screen’s backlight and glare.
Stretching and Range of Motion
Static load occurs when you sit or stand in one position for long periods of time. To eliminate this from happening, you should regularly stretch and get your body moving. The cumulative effect of static load can have negative effects on your joints, muscles, and tendons. You should focus on developing a stretching routine that hits all the different parts of your body that you feel are most “static” through your workday. You want to also get your blood pumping and circulating.
Eliminating Excessive Motions
A serious ergonomic risk is repeating excessive motions. Many of us feel like we are “going through the motions” at work sometimes, and this can lead to some undue physical stress. Our routine is largely dependent on our productivity goals. Repetitious physical activity combined with poor posture can help contribute to back pain.
You should take a step back and observe your physical motions throughout your typical workday. Does it involve a lot of typing, awkward eye and back posture? You might find that you can eliminate a lot of chronic pain caused by repetitive motion by learning to organize your day better. Or, even better yet, eliminate those excessive motions altogether.
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot eliminate these motions, you should look at the possibility of task rotation as well as regular movement and stretch breaks. This can help reduce some of the wear and tear you build up throughout the day.
Eliminating Contact Stress
Contact stress occurs from when you regularly rub sensitive parts of your skin onto surfaces with unfavorable texture. For example, this can be the sharp edge of your laptop or desk.
This negative contact stress can concentrate pressure on a specific area. Then, that part of your body can suffer from poor nerve and tendon function. This can even tire out your muscles. Make sure you leave enough space for your knees to “breathe”. You also don’t want to rest your wrists onto a sharp edge for long periods of time. There are products that you can buy to serve as a sort of cushioning support.
Your Chair Matters
If you find yourself seated at a desk all day for work, you should invest an ergonomic chair that can be adjusted to for best comfort and posture. You want the right amount of lumbar support.
Also, don’t forget it’s not just about the chair. As we noted above, posture really matters. If you have a great chair but sit with poor posture, you may still end up with back pain. However, if you combine proper posture with an ergonomic chair, you should feel wonderful!
Desk and Computer Location
Your keyboard and mouse should be at the same level as your arms being equally supported by armrests or some sort of cushioning. You also want your wrist to be in a straight motion.
Another good idea is to invest in a document holder. These can help you keep documents at eye level without you having to strain either your neck or eyes. Everything at your desk should be within easy reach. This is also a good way to eliminate excessive motion.
Relaxation and Recovery
Remember to try and stay relaxed. Practicing meditation or breathing techniques at work can help minimize the stress you place on yourself. This mental stress can physically manifest itself as you tend to tense your muscles whenever you feel stressed out about something.
A good way to reduce your mental stress and increase clarity is by taking breaks to allow your brain to enter a “diffusive” mode. Our brains also need time to relax. If you feel pressured to skip breaks, find a way to ergonomically prepare for that situation. Use a proper workstation setup to minimize the amount of added physical stress you place on yourself.
Keep your Eyes in Mind
Keep your computer at eye level. You should also look at it directly and not from an angle. You should also place your monitor in a position where it elicits less glare. Also, get a newer monitor if you find that yours only operates at a lower resolution. There are even computer applications such as f.lux that can help eliminate blue light, which places additional stress on your eyes.
Ergonomics aren’t particularly difficult to apply. Most of these tips and principles may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people forget about applying them in their daily work lives. The difficulty lies in the application of these techniques on a habitual basis.
However, by applying these ergonomic principles regularly, you will definitely see an improvement in your body’s mental and physical health. You can help decrease symptoms of chronic pain and body fatigue. We hope by adhering to these ergonomic workplace principles you begin to notice improvement soon!
Make an appointment with us, and we’ll fix your physical ailments, and help you with establishing your ergonomic environment.