Can Other Office Furniture Affect Ergonomics?
“We’ve all heard the term “ergonomics” floating around. But what is it exactly, and how does it affect your life at the office? This branch of applied science refers to the design of equipment and furniture. Ideal ergonomic design will maximise productivity by reducing any discomfort or fatigue.
Did you know that ergonomics has a direct influence on the productiveness of people in their work environment? It is closely associated to health in the work environment and how health affects work performance.
So what does that mean for you and your office? Here are a few tips to increase the ergonomics of your business.
Ergonomics with Keyboards
Place the keyboard in a position that allows the forearms to be close to the horizontal and the wrists to be straight. That is, with the hand in line with the forearm. If this causes the elbows to be held far out from the side of the body then re-check the work surface height.
Some people prefer to have their wrists supported on a wrist rest or the desk. Be careful not to have the wrist extended or bent in an up position.
Ergonomics Office Chairs
Adjust the seat tilt so that you are comfortable when you are working on the keyboard. Usually, this will be close to horizontal but some people prefer the seat tilted slightly forwards.
Your knees should be bent at a comfortable angle and greater than 90º flexion. If this places an uncomfortable strain on the leg muscles, or if the feet do not reach the floor, then a footrest should be used. The footrest height must allow your knees to be bent at 90º; the height of the footrest may need to be adjustable.
Adjust the backrest so that it supports the lower back when you are sitting upright. A range of chairs is available.
Ergonomics with Phones
Avoid cradling the phone between your head and shoulder when answering calls. If you need to use your computer at the same time, use a headset or the phone’s hands-free/speaker-phone capabilities if the environment is suitable.
Ergonomics with Computer Monitors
Set the eye-to-screen distance at the distance that permits you to most easily focus on the screen. Usually this will be within an arm’s length.
Set the height of the monitor so that the top of the screen is below eye level and the bottom of the screen can be read without a marked inclination of the head. Usually this means that the centre of the screen will need to be near shoulder height. Your eyes should be level with the tool bar.
People who wear bifocal or multi-focal lenses will need to get a balance between where they see out of their lenses and avoid too much neck flexing. The height of the monitor can be adjusted using a monitor riser.
Ergonomics with Office Desks
Adjust the height of the work surface and/or the height of the chair so that the work surface allows your elbows to be bent at 90º, forearms parallel with the floor, wrist straight, shoulders relaxed.
Place all controls and task materials within a comfortable reach of both hands so that there is no unnecessary twisting of any part of the body. Most people prefer the document holder to be between the keyboard and the monitor. There are many different types of document holders available.
Ergonomics In Using a Mouse
A well-designed mouse should not cause undue pressure on the wrist and forearm muscles. A large bulky mouse may keep the wrist continuously bent at an uncomfortable angle.
Pressure can be reduced by releasing the mouse at frequent intervals and by selecting a slim-line, low-profile mouse. Keep the mouse as close as possible to the keyboard, elbow bent and close to the body.
Ergonomics in Posture while Typing
Good posture is essential for all computer users. You should adopt a natural and relaxed position, providing opportunity for movement, from which you can assume a number of alternative positions.
There is no single, rigidly defined position.
Ergonomics on Posture and Environment
Change your posture at frequent intervals to minimise fatigue. Avoid awkward postures at the extremes of the joint range, especially the wrists.
Take frequent short rest breaks rather than infrequent longer ones. Avoid sharp increases in work rate. Changes should be gradual enough to ensure that the workload does not result in excessive fatigue.
After prolonged absences from work the overall duration of periods of keyboard work should be increased gradually if conditions permit.”
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