January 4, 2013
To put it simply, ergonomics is the study of efficiency in working environments. The goal of ergonomics is to find a balance between you and your work condition. More specifically, one that not only keeps you safe and comfortable but also limits work-related injuries. A recent study demonstrates the more hours a day you sit, the greater your likelihood of dying an earlier death. Therefore, good ergonomics can improve your health and overall quality of life at work.
Arrange Your Workspace
It’s critical to organize your personal workspace. This includes arranging the tools around your desk so that you minimize the distance you have to reach for them. For instance, your most frequently used items should be located within your primary work zone. This includes the distance from your elbow to your hand. Items you use frequently, but don’t need all the time should be located in your secondary work zone, which is within arm’s length. Lastly, your reference zone, which is just outside arm’s reach, should contain your least-often used items.
Exercise At Your Desk
Sitting behind a computer all day can cause back pain, a stiff neck and shoulders, sore hands or wrists, and tired legs. Exercising can help to improve all of these symptoms and more. Plus, you burn calories while doing so! When possible, stretch your arms and wrists. You can also do shoulder and neck rolls to loosen the muscles in your back. Replacing your desk chair with a stability ball is not a bad idea either. It activates good posture and the tightening of core muscles—resulting in strong abdominals. Ideally, you should try to stretch every 20 minutes.
Get Up and Walk
Sitting in a chair all day allows your leg muscles to essentially shut down. You also stop burning calories, your cholesterol production decreases and your risk of diabetes increases. For those reasons, it’s crucial to get up and take frequent walks in order to reactivate your body and increase your blood flow. Whether it’s to the water cooler or just a causal stroll down the hall, make it a priority to take daily walks during throughout the workday.
Maintain Good Work Habits
Maintaining good work habits will give your body a chance to recover while keeping your productivity up. For instance, when you’re not typing you should rest your arms and wrists on a palm rest rather than a hard desk edge. Also, your mouse should be close enough to the keyboard in order to minimize reaching from the shoulder. And rather than sitting at a stiff 90-degree angle, you should try to relax your body and sit at 100 or 110-degree angle.
More times than not, office lighting is not appropriate for the human eye. And inappropriate lighting can strain your eyes. Therefore, it’s important that monitors are not too bright. Use one of those monitor filters that reduce the glare. For reading, you can supplement a desk light rather than overhead lighting. Also, you should practice looking away from your monitor every 20 minutes. If you can, stare out the window or at a distant object for ten seconds. This will help reduce fatigue and eye strain.
Practicing good ergonomics in the workplace is important. While a sore neck or back may seem harmless at the time, these types of injuries can cause long-term suffering and damage to those who experience them. Research shows that reducing your sitting time to just three hours a day can increase your life expectancy by two years. Ergonomically designed workstations made of aluminum framing can provide temporary relief to workers while making them more productive. Ultimately, the goal of ergonomics is to avoid long-term damage to the body. This will allow office workers to live longer, happier lives.