The term “ergonomics” was coined in 1857 from the Greek words for “work” and “natural law,” but it didn’t become a common expression in the English language until WWII. That’s when aircraft designers for the British Royal Air Force made it widely known through their work building cockpits to be compatible with human pilots. After all, what good is a plane if it can’t be flown efficiently?
Likewise, office employees may find themselves struggling to concentrate at work as they pause to stretch out the little aches and pains that come with poor posture and desk arrangement. Here are some easy steps from the Mayo Clinic and the OSHA Education Center to quickly improve ergonomics and employee comfort.
Adjust The Ergonomics Of Your Chair
Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of the chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest, and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust armrests so that your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed.
Make these adjustments twice each day – once before you start your shift, and again after lunch as your body changes during the day. If your chair does not have a support for your lower back, use a pillow or other cushion to support the natural shape and prevent slouching.
Adjust The Ergonomics Of Your Keyboard And Mouse
Your mouse should be within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your forearms straight through the wrist, your upper arms close to your body and your hands slightly at or below the level of your elbows. Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use. If possible, try alternating the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving it to the other side of your keyboard.
Consider using an ergonomic keyboard, which allows the forearms to be angled without bending the wrist, or an ergonomic mousepad with wrist support to decrease fatigue of the arms and hands.
Adjust The Ergonomics Of Your Desktop
Your desk especially should be arranged to maximize its ergonomic impact. Consider investing in an adjustable workstation which can be raised or lowered. This is especially important for taller employees who may need extra height to accommodate long legs, or individuals who wish to take advantage of the opportunity to stand while working.
The computer monitor should be kept 16-29 inches in front of your head, and at a height that places your neutral vision in the top third of the screen. Any tools that are frequently required for work should be kept within arm’s reach to avoid unnecessary stretching and bending.
Contact Us For An Ergonomics Assessment
We’ve Got Your Back can perform workplace ergonomic assessments and training to improve employee comfort and wellbeing; we specialize in building happy and healthy employees.
The We’ve Got Your Back ergonomists are experts in the latest and most cost-effective workstation solutions. We can recommend and install the best options with a turnaround that demonstrates you care for their comfort and well being of your team.
Contact us today to schedule your assessment!