Every week your employees spend around 40 hours (or more, or a lot more) at work. That’s a lot of time probably spent sitting in front of a computer, sitting in meetings, sitting in a car or on public transportation—just plain sitting. This much sedentary time can take a serious toll on a human body; just ask anyone who groans as they get out of their chair. That’s why it’s a good idea to carefully examine the “ergonomics” of your workstation, and to have your employees do the same. Ergonomics is the study of how efficient people are in their work environment. For people who work in front of a computer, a number of simple but important steps can make their workstation ergonomically sound. These steps can stave off lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eyestrain. Over time these minor changes can lead to major improvements.
Top Three Workstation Ergonomics Improvements
Monitor Be sure the computer monitor is 16 to 27 inches away from the user’s eyes (within arm’s length when seated). The top third of the screen should be at eye level to minimize neck strain. Eliminate sources of glare by using the tilt feature or moving the monitor. Keyboard The keyboard should be flat and directly in front of the user’s monitor. The user’s wrists and arms should be on a straight even line (so wrists are not much higher or lower than elbows). Elbows should rest comfortably at a 90-degree angle. A soft palm rest can reduce contact pressure with the desk. Chair Make sure the chair keeps the user’s knees at the same height as his or her hips. Thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor, and so should hands, wrists, and forearms. The lumbar support should touch the small curve of the lower back. Feet should be flat on the floor to even out pressure on the lower back and promote blood flow to the user’s feet. But no matter how good your or your employee’s posture and workstation ergonomics are, sitting in the same position for too long isn’t healthy. It can leave you feeling sluggish; cause tightness in your neck, shoulders, and back; and make your joints stiff. It can have a negative effect on your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increase your risk of blood clots. So every hour (at least) get up from your desk and walk around, and take every opportunity during the day to get up, work your muscles a bit, and get the blood flowing.