Are you looking to create an ergonomic office space but aren’t sure where to begin?
Ergonomics in the office is essential. It can help reduce pain, particularly back, neck, and shoulder pain. It can also help boost productivity levels, as people are likely to be more productive when they’re in less pain and feeling healthier.
An ergonomic setup will also improve employee wellness overall. But how do you create an ergonomic office? What factors do you need to consider?
Read below to learn about the top ergonomic office tips.
1. Choose the Right Keyboard
It’s estimated that 81% of American office workers spend between 4 and 9 hours per day sitting at their desks. Of those surveyed, 64% said sitting at a desk all day hurt their health.
Another 45% said that their employer didn’t offer the necessary equipment to feel comfortable at their desks. Desk comfort all starts with choosing the right keyboard.
If you’re sitting at your desk all day, you’re likely spending a lot of time typing. If you don’t have the right keyboard setup, you’ll experience aching hands and wrists. According to the OSHA, here’s what you should keep in mind when it comes to keyboard placement:
- Set your keyboard directly in front of you
- Relax your shoulders, and keep your elbows close to your body
- Straighten your wrists and align them with your forearms
The idea is to keep your wrists in a neutral position, so they don’t put strain on the rest of your body. To accomplish this, there are three main things you need to take into consideration: keyboard height, distance, and design.
If your keyboard sits too low, you’ll need to adjust by bending your wrists upward. If it’s too high, you’ll need to adjust by raising your shoulders and elevating your arms.
To get your keyboard to the correct height, make sure that your office chair and worksurface are the same height as your keyboard. Your elbows should be at the same height as your keyboard, allowing your shoulders to relax. Additionally, your wrists should stay in a neutral position.
If you can’t adjust your office chair and work surface to this position, you may need to use a keyboard tray. Make sure you select a keyboard tray that is height- and tilt-adjustable and gives enough space for your legs to comfortably fit underneath it.
If your keyboard is too close to you or too far away from you, you’ll need to compensate by creating awkward sitting postures. Your keyboard should sit directly in front of you and at a distance that lets your elbows stay close to your body.
Your wrists and forearms should also remain parallel to the ground.
Lastly, take into consideration the keyboard design, tilt, and size. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and the right design usually comes down to personal preference.
We recommend reading reviews and testimonials to find the right design to suit your needs.
2. Choose the Right Chair
In addition to choosing the right keyboard, you also need to select an ergonomic office chair. Without the right chair, you’re more likely to suffer from back and shoulder pain.
Close to 65 million Americans suffer from at least one episode of back pain each year, and a lot of the pain likely comes from sitting at a desk all day. Luckily, you can combat back pain with the right office chair.
Here’s what to look for in an ergonomic office chair:
Everyone’s needs are different, and therefore, you need to select an office chair that can adjust to your body. For one, the seat height should be easy to adjust.
Ideally, you want to find a chair that ranges from 16 to 21 inches in height. This will allow you to keep your feet flat on the floor while also keep your arms at an even height with the desk.
Additionally, you want to pay attention to the seat depth and width. The depth (aka, the distance from the front of the seat to the back of the seat) needs to be enough so you can sit with your back against the backrest while leaving a couple of inches of space between the back of your knees and the seat of the chair.
Look for an office chair that comes with a seat slider, as this will allow you to slide the seat in and out while sitting on the chair.
Lumbar support is perhaps the most important factor to pay attention to when selecting an office chair. Your lumbar spine curves inward, and sitting for long time periods without support for this curve can quickly lead to slouching and poor posture.
While poor posture may not seem like a big deal, it can have a major effect on your overall health. Poor posture can lead to:
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Poor digestion
- Impaired lung function
- Poor circulation
- A misaligned spine
- Constricted nerves
- Headache and jaw pain
Poor posture can also exacerbate arthritis symptoms and affect your mood. The office chair you select should come with height and depth lumbar adjustment so you can find the proper fit for your back.
Your office chair’s backrest should be between 12 and 19 inches wide. The backrest needs to support the natural curve of your spine.
Ergonomic office chairs should promote dynamic sitting, as this helps increase blood flow. Therefore, users should be able to recline in the chair to relieve some weight. Look for a chair that comes with a reclining degree between 110 and 130, as this will put the least amount of pressure on your lumbar region.
If your backrest comes separate from your seat, you should be able to adjust its height and angle. If the seat and the backrest come together, you should be able to adjust the backrest in back and forward angles.
While chair material may not seem like a big issue, it can really make a difference. Look for a chair material that keeps you comfortable for an extended period of time.
The seat padding should be made from high-quality foam. With insufficient or low-quality foam, you’re more likely to experience back pain, hip misalignment, imbalance, and discomfort.
Also, look for a breathable material, such as leather or cloth. Many office chairs come with mesh backrests, which increase airflow and keeps you cool.
Armrests and Swivel
Lastly, look for an office chair that comes with an adjustable armrest. This will allow you to keep your shoulders relaxed while resting comfortably. Your lower arms and elbows should rest lightly, and your forearms shouldn’t be on the armrests when typing.
In terms of swivel, you want to look for a chair that can easily rotate so you can reach different areas of your desk without straining your body.
3. Choose the Right Desk
A few years ago, many offices started to transition to standing desks, as people realized that sitting all day had detrimental health effects. While many people swear by standing desks, the science is still inconclusive as to whether standing desks are healthier than sitting desks.
While it’s important to avoid sitting for hours at a time, standing still for hours on end can also lead to problems in your knees and other joints. Ideally, it’s best to do both, which is why we recommend an adjustable desk.
With an adjustable desk, you can alter your workday between sitting and standing. You can also check out lenovo.com to learn about the products you should keep on your desk to fill out your workstation.
4. Make Time for Movement
Even with the perfect desk, keyboard, and chair, your body is still going to suffer from sitting all day. This is why it’s so important to make time for movement.
In addition to getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, make time for small movements throughout your workday so you’re not stuck in the same position. For example, if you have to take a call, get up and walk around.
When you can find time for a quick break, don’t just sit back and scroll social media. Instead, get up and do some lunges or jumping jacks. These small movements throughout the day can really add up.
Ergonomic Office Tips: Time to Make Your Office More Ergonomically-Friendly
Now that you’ve read these ergonomic office tips, it’s time to implement them so you can make your office more ergonomically-friendly. With these changes, you should soon see a difference in your overall health and job performance.
Of course, the right ergonomic setup is only one aspect of staying productive at work. For more work productivity tips, browse our site.