Office ergonomics – perhaps you have already heard about the word, perhaps not. That does not really matter. The truth is that a huge percentage of us is spending every single day in an office environment. There is no need to judge whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, it is just the way it is. The thing that we have to do – since it is practically impossible to change our office lifestyles – is to try to improve our office environments in a way that will help us get through our routines without any negative effects.
Even though you might not have not heard about office ergonomics yet, you have certainly already heard at least some tips about how your chair and computer desk should be set up. Those are the basic tips that everyone knows, but that may be not enough for those of us who really care about the details – even the tiniest ones. And that is where office ergonomics come in. Moreover, many of those commonly used guidelines are like myths. We have been hearing them over and over again for such a long time that we have simply learned to accept them as facts. Don’t get this wrong – most of them are good and, from what can be seen in many offices, most of us would be much better off with them. Nevertheless, it is certainly worth taking a closer look at what the really good advice is. Here are four tips for improving your office ergonomics.
Set Up Your Chair
First of all, let’s look at how to adjust your chair in the proper way, since that should usually be your number one priority when it comes to office ergonomics. The whole thing naturally starts with you buying a good enough chair, but that topic would span across more than a few articles, so let’s look at what can be done with the chair you already have at your disposal.
What you hear most often is that there is an ideal position for you to sit in – perhaps you have heard that you should have a right angle at your knee. That is usually good enough, but there is no need to take it as a gospel and stay in that position all the time. Move your feet around as is comfortable for you – and adjust the height of your chair accordingly. The same applies when it comes to your posture. It should be upright, but there is no need to believe that your hips should be at the right angle. Interestingly, a higher angle is more desirable – not only will your body weight be supported by the chair (which eases the pressure on your body), but you will also usually feel much more comfortable.
Adjust Your Workspace
Next, move away from your chair and look at your actual workspace. This part is all about common sense. You have probably been working in the very same place for quite some time, so think about what makes you the most problems. Is there something that you need for your work and usually have to reach it by doing artistic poses more than a couple of times a day? Well, just move it closer to your actual working area. It is also a very good idea to have the things which you need for your work the most directly in front of yourself. For example, if you are trying to transcribe a document, move your keyboard slightly aside in order to make room for that document. That is a much better option that having to turn your neck to the side all the time.
Another thing that some people are trying to implement is a strategically located footrest. There are many websites out there stating their obvious advantages. However, what might look like a good idea at first glance might not be the best of things if you take a closer look at it. The problem with footrests is that you are basically obliged to use them when they are in place. And, unfortunately, that basically limits you unnecessarily – and not only because your feet can only be in one place. Instead of using a footrest, try lowering your chair in order to feel comfortable.
Manage Your Computer
Now, let’s look at what you can do when it comes to your computer. Most commonly, it is suggested that your eyes should be about 18-24 inches away. Well, the thing is, giving an exact number might not be the best way to do it. The ideal distance is as far as it’s possible while still seeing clearly. That is the “natural“ configuration that is the best for your eyes.
The very same rules apply when it comes to the keyboard and the mouse. Gone should be all the “number-oriented“ guidelines – they are way too mechanical and generalizing. It does not matter where your keyboard is, it matters whether your arms are comfortably supported whenever you use it. And the matter is completely the same when it comes to your mouse.
Have Enough Breaks
Finally (and this can’t be stressed enough!), do make a break here and there. Everyone seems to be forgetting about this point. There is no need to perform elaborate stretching routines or go to a gym for fifteen minutes – it is more than enough to just go for a swift walk around with a few simple exercises thrown in for fun. Enjoy them as much as you can – that will help both your body and your mind. And, most importantly, try to eat your lunch away from your workplace as often as possible – we don’t need to mention the reasons for that, do we?
There is plenty of things that you can do in order to improve your office environment and, along with that, your health. Some of the tips that have been mentioned might look a bit out of this world. Well, they are not – but there is nobody who can force you to follow them. Think about yourself and do what you think is best for you – that is what matters the most!
Byline: Lewis Edward is a real estate expert and one of the owners of The Office Providers. He spends his free time by sharing his knowledge and experience about office space to rent and other business matters on various websites and blogs.