Top 8 Tips for Computer & Office Ergonomics
Ergonomics is basically the science of situating the workplace to fit the limitations and capabilities of the worker.
When it comes to office ergonomics, the objective is to design the office workspace so that it comfortably fits you, allowing for the most optimal comfort while working, which in turn should translate into maximum efficiency and productivity.
When your office workspace is setting up ergonomically, it should help prevent discomfort and fatigue, which is something we all strive for. Whether you’re tasked with ensuring each worker is given the most optimal work environment or you’re just a computer user that’s looking at ways of avoiding fatigue, if you follow the various tips below, it should help you prove your current work station.
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Follow the Rule of 90s
For workers that are required to sit in the same position for extended periods of time, it’s in their best interest to consider the rule of 90 degrees. It’s fairly simple, all it means is that, while sitting on your desk, you ensure your hips, knees and elbows are all resting at a 90 degrees angle.
Keyboard and Mice Positioning
A lot of people never factor in keyboard and mouse positioning, when considering the ergonomics of a workstation. However, the reality is, that it’s equally as important. If a worker has to reach towards their mouse at a relatively uncomfortable angle, having to position their wrists and elbows in awkward positions, then they will lose that neutral positioning. If you’re required to reach for an input device, over an extended period of time, it can lead to fatigue and in more severe situations, injury.
You want the keyboard and mouse to be positioned in such a way that it doesn’t break the neutral positioning rule. Both of these devices should be positioned specifically for the person that intends to use it. This should mean, adjusting the device positions to suit whoever intends to work in that space. So make sure there’s some flexibility there.
Correct Distance and Display Height
You want your display device to be positioned at your eye level, or the eye level of whomever will be working on the workstation. This way, you can avoid any straining of the neck or squinting of the eyes. For the best ergonomics, the end user shouldn’t have to turn their neck in any direction, whether it be up, down, left or right, in order to view anything on the screen. This rule applies to single monitors and also to power users that favour a multi-display setup.
Keep Wrists Neutral
Whether it be while using the keyboard, or the mouse or just general desk work, it’s important that your wrists are positioned neutrally. This is the most sure-fire way of minimising any injury, due to fixed postures.
Change Positions Constantly
You want to change your positioning on a constant basis, as this will help to minimise injuries. This can be done in a number of ways. Like, taking a break and walking to your filing cabinet, or having a phone conversation while standing up. You want to ensure your body position is constantly changing, all through a single days work period.
Take Frequent Breaks
Just like the previous tip, the human body wasn’t designed to remain static for extended periods of time. For this reason, you want to ensure your regularly breaking. As this is one of the most effective ways to minimise repetitive motions, awkward postures and static positioning, which all lead to injuries. Every 30 minutes, you want to take anywhere from 2 – 5 minute breaks.
Adjustable Your Desk and Chair
To ensure your body posture is optimal and you’re positioned neutrally, you want to invest in a chair that is adjustable, along with any equipment and furniture. The more positions you can adjust your desk and chair into, the more individuals you can tailor your work spaces for. Ergonomics is all about optimal fit for single individuals, which means, one size does not fit all.
Keep Frequently Used Tools and Items Close to You
Whether it be the chair, which you keep right under the desk or where you position items, such as the keyboard (which we’ve already address), as well as the telephone or filing cabinet. You want to ensure that all these things are easily accessible, and reachable in most cases. As this will minimise discomfort during daily work hours.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website