Surely most people are familiar with the word ergonomics, but do you really know what it means and how utilizing ergonomics can help to improve and maintain your health?
Ergonomics refers to the designing of the workplace, keeping in mind the capabilities and limitations of the employee. The science of ergonomics is a very important part of maintaining proper musculoskeletal health along with maintaining and reinforcing positive outcomes from chiropractic care. There are millions of people a year who develop musculoskeletal disorders that stem from improper ergonomics in the workplace. Most repetitive use injuries develop due to the workplace setup and many could be avoided with proper attention to ergonomics. Not only will an ergonomically correct workstation save you from future potential injuries or pain, it can also help you maximize productivity and efficiency.
Here are 10 tips to optimize ergonomics in your workplace:
- Make sure that the weight of your arms is supported at all times. If your arms are not supported, the muscles in your neck and shoulders will pay for it by the end of the day.
- Try to keep the weight of your head directly above its base of support (neck). Don’t “crane” your head and neck forward. Think of the difference in the weight of a bowling ball you hold pressed against your body compared to holding it farther away. The farther off of the neck you hold your head, the more your back and neck have to strain.
- Focus on good posture, don’t slouch! Bad posture puts more strain on the muscles of the spine and neck. Utilize the lumbar support of your chair and try to make sure you sit straight, avoiding favoring a lean to one side or the other. Move your chair as close to the desk as possible to avoid reaching or leaning; always scoot your chair in when you sit.
- Ensure that your monitor and keyboard are directly in front of you, with the top of the monitor being no higher than eye level.
- Always hold the phone (or utilize speakerphone if possible) when you are talking on the phone, try to avoid using your shoulder and head to hold the phone.
- Keep the keyboard and mouse in front of you and in line with the monitor. Keep the mouse close enough so you are not reaching.
- Avoid eye strain by ensuring the monitor is at least an arm’s distance away.
- Do your best to avoid any glare on the monitor, try not to place the monitor in front of a window or bright background.
- Rest your eyes periodically by looking at something far away for several seconds.
- Ensure your feet are reaching the ground. If your feet are dangling or if there is pressure on the back of your legs, utilize a footrest or lower the chair and keyboard.
Try to really focus on utilizing these tips to optimize your workspace to work for you, not against you, and your body will really appreciate it!