Creating and designing an ergonomic workstation isn’t just a passing fad. Here’s why.
You’ve known plenty of dedicated employees who struggle with maladies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, back strain, or spend hours squinting at the computer screen. In the break room or in social settings, how many times have you heard co-workers or friends moan and say they’re getting older?
What do you think?
Do you know the impact that the right desk, chair and lighting can have on office well-being and productivity?
Find out how ergonomics came about so you get a good understanding of not just how to create ergonomic workstations but why it’s important.
What Ergonomic Stations Reduce or Prevent
Go back a few decades and you’ll discover the popularity of the wooden office chair. They gave workers a place to sit in a one-size fits all solution. End of story.
Then came along executive chairs that looked fancier and had wheels. They were more comfortable but didn’t address two underlying maladies facing the modern office worker:
- Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
This is more than just bad backs. MSDs affect nerves, ligaments, blood vessels and tendons as noted on a write-up of ergonomics on the OSHA website.
When a person does the same work constantly at a desk or chair that’s at an improper height and they have poor posture, they’re at risk for repetitive strain injuries. MSDs lead to frequent absences from work.
The problem became widespread and serious studies evolved on how workers interacted with the workplace. That’s the focus of ergonomics.
Flip the calendar back a century and you’ll see that the first published work on ergonomics appeared around 1900. In both of the world wars that followed, the military studied the intersection of airplane design and the limitations of the human body.
Here’s where this extensive research has taken us—to high quality solutions that are readily available.
You work in an office every day but can you name the basics element of a workstation?
If not, no problem. It’s listed below.
Principles of Ergonomic Workstations
What makes up a workstation?
Photo: Humanscale M10 Monitor Arm
Do those last two items surprise you? They shouldn’t.
Learn why as you read along.
When setting up a workstation, pay attention to the space design of the room, a key part of the 2010 Space Planning Strategy.
Also look at the placement of accessories and the equipment layout on the desk as noted in a detailed write up on computer workstation ergonomics by The University of Western Australia. While sitting and working, make sure a person’s joints aren’t stressed.
Now, let’s unpack it all.
Here’s a benefit of individual desks and shared worksurfaces that have height-adjustable versatility. The surfaces adjust for a person’s needs so they’re working with the best posture possible. That could mean sitting down or standing.
Photo: Humanscale QuickStand
Make sure the surface has everything within an easy reach so a person doesn’t have to turn and twist unnecessarily.
Office aesthetics are important and today’s desks fit traditional office spaces and the latest floor plans.
A private office desk like the Krug Adesso Height Adjustable Desk has a finely crafted appearance while the Hon 10500 Series Height Adjustable Desk is minimal for a compact work place and collaborative open floor plans.
Use chairs that support a body’s natural movement.
Think of it this way.
You’re not sitting still on a chair. You’re reaching for files, turning to look or listen to a co-worker, and, yes, sitting with good posture, we hope, while typing up your latest report.
An ergonomically sound chair should have a comfortable to it and the knees bent at 90 degrees. Use a footrest if the feet don’t reach the floor once the chair is adjusted.
Computers and Accessories
Posture has a tremendous impact on overall well-being. Keep computer screens at an eye level so a person doesn’t have to lean forward to the screen. Accessories like a keyboard and mouse should let the arms remain horizontal.
Be careful that your wrists aren’t bent or extended upright.
The right amount of light in an office helps your employees’ well-being. Natural light is a proven mood booster. Plenty of natural light helps promote a restful night’s sleep as well.
Check light fixtures to make sure they’re not glaring on computer screens or don’t provide enough and cause people to squint.
The Ergonomic Solution
Here’s the end result of an office that’s planned well.
People are more likely to have good posture.
Furniture that promotes natural body movement supports good posture. A person’s head weighs as much as a heavy bowling ball. Constantly leaning forward gradually strains the vertebrae and leads to muscle and ligament strains.
Photo: Friant System 2 Workstations
Ergonomic furniture and workstations reduces incidences of stiff shoulders, necks and lower back pain while boosting employees’ ability to work at optimum levels.
Make your workplace as productive as possible and design it so your team can work and function with the highest possible amount of well-being.
Get the Expertise You Need
Get the Expertise You Need
Get input from 2010 Office Furniture on your space planning needs. Call or submit your questions.
The team has more than 45 years of experience serving corporations, universities and small businesses throughout Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
Read Also: Designing an Office Layout for Maximum Productivity
Main Photo by: ODS / Office Design Studio
Resources & Special Thanks to: OSHA, University of Western Australia & Respective Product Manufacturers: ODS / Office Design Studio, 9 to 5 Seating, Friant, HON, and Humanscale