Ergonomics is the combination of posture, equipment, and environment. Posture and environment can be difficult to alter, but the right equipment can make all the difference.
With more people working from home, they may not have access to the same ergonomic equipment they use at work. The kitchen table and dining chair is fine to sit at for your nightly meal, but it’s not suitable for eight hours a day on a laptop.
But what is the right equipment? Read our essentials checklist to help make the right ergonomic decisions.
Ergonomic Equipment Checklist
The right equipment can be the difference between comfortable, productive work and painful, limited productivity.
If your work requires you to sit for eight hours a day, an ergonomic chair is essential. It can make all the difference in staying injury free and comfortable during the workday. An ergonomic chair is one that’s fully adjusted to provide good lumbar and back support. Lumbar support helps maintain the natural curve of your lower back so the backrest should be adjustable in height and angle.
Ergonomic chairs use top quality foam and breathable fabric, making them comfortable to sit for lengthy periods. The seat depth should allow a worker to sit with their back against the rest and leave a slight gap between the seat and the back of their knees.
Armrests should be adjustable, so arms and shoulders are comfortable and relaxed with forearms clear of the rests while typing.
The chair should rotate easily so the user can reach most of the desk area without straining.
Office chairs are designed to fit 95% of the population, but that still leaves many workers with a body shape that doesn’t conform. For shorter office workers, one of the most valuable pieces of equipment is a footrest. For good posture, it’s important that your feet sit flat on the floor, but if your legs aren’t long enough, you’ll need a footrest.
#3 Monitor Risers and Laptop Stands
With the increase in popularity of laptops, workers shouldn’t use them long term without raising the height of the screen. Looking down at a screen can cause you to slouch and extend your head forward, placing pressure on your neck and spine.
Using a separate keyboard and a laptop stand or monitor riser will elevate the screen to a height that doesn’t require you to bend or rotate your neck.
If you find yourself straining to read the text on a small screen laptop, it may be beneficial to use a large screen monitor. We often don’t realise we’re straining our head forward to read until we experience neck pain. Your ears should be above your shoulders, not in front.
Wrist and hand pain is common amongst workers who need to use a mouse regularly. For those workers who hold the mouse for most of the day, they should upgrade from a standard to an ergonomic mouse. The design helps keep the hand in a more natural, vertical position rather than a horizontal one.
Whatever type of mouse you use, place it close to the keyboard so your elbow remains near your body so you aren’t reaching for it. Standard mouse users can try changing the hand you use to reduce the strain on your dominant hand.
#5 Adequate Lighting
It’s not just the equipment at your workstation you need to consider, ergonomic issues can arise from lighting. Harsh or poor lighting can contribute to a deterioration in poor posture and fatigue. Glare on a computer screen can cause you to change your seated position, often unconsciously, to avoid the light. Over time, your awkward posture can cause musculoskeletal injuries. Try adjusting the blinds as the sun moves to reduce glare and if overhead lighting is inadequate, use a desktop light.
If you have any queries about office ergonomics and the equipment that’s right for you, call us on (08) 9240 7066 or contact us online.