Have you noticed more standing desks or flexible seating options in your office? In recent years, improving ergonomics in the workspace has become increasingly important for employers.
Ergonomics is the process of designing the workspace and equipment to the person. It aims to improve workplace environments, efficiency, safety, productivity and minimize injury.
How can sitting at a desk cause aches and pains?
Bad habits and poor ergonomics in the workspace often lead to musculoskeletal disorders
. These are caused by repetitive motion and not being ergonomically “correct”. For example, sitting for prolonged periods of time increases the amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Poor posture can also overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs. Injuries that can not only impact your work, but also day-to-day life.
Other common injuries caused by poor ergonomics include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Epicondylitis or tennis elbow
- Trigger finger
- Muscle strains and low back pain
1. Adjust your desk to chair height.
Tips to Make Your Workspace More Ergonomic
Elbows should be at a 90 degree angle. To find the right height for you, sit comfortably close to your desk so upper arms are parallel to the spine. Rest your hands on your desk and move your chair up or down until elbows are at 90 degrees.
2. Determine if a footrest is necessary.
You should be able to easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the edge of your chair. If it’s too tight, you need to prop your feet up with an adjustable footrest. If there’s more than a finger width, you need to raise your chair/desk.
3. Check for lumbar support.
Sit against the back of your chair. There should be a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly so you don’t slump forward. This support is essential to minimize the strain on your back.
4. Sit eye level with the center of your screen.
Close your eyes while sitting with your head comfortably forward. Slowly open your eyes and find your gaze. It should be aimed at the center of your screen. If not, you may need to raise or lower it.
Still need to convince your employer to do an ergonomic evaluation? Studies show that ergonimics improves productivity, increases employee satisfaction and reduces the number of missed days of work
To learn more, talk to your employer about best practices for your job.