7 Steps to an Ergonomic Workstation
Working at a desk can cause back and neck pain in little to no time, which can and will cause a lot of discomfort and lack of concentration. You might think this is common due to many reasons like sitting posture, or not being used to staying seated for extended periods of time, but in reality it's due to poorly designed working space. Studies agree that an ergonomic working spaces reduce the risk of pain and discomfort, which is why we have developed a list that will help you set up a working space that best fits your needs.
1. Pay Attention to Your Chair
A good ergonomic chair needs to support the natural S-curve of your back. Ergonomics professionals agree that your lower back needs to be supported. When getting a new chair, choose one that is adjustable and comfortable. If you are not ready to get a new chair, get a seat cushion or lumbar support pillow that will help you sit and work for a few hours. Besides being comfortable, a lumbar support pillow will encourage you to sit properly.
2. Height Adjustable Desk
On several occasions, we have mentioned the benefits of using a height-adjustable desk. Whether you are sitting or standing, a height-adjustable desk helps you position your keyboard, mouse, and monitor at the most comfortable height. According to the Cornell University's Ergonomics Website, the five main office tasks: Typing, mousing, writing, reading documents, and viewing the screen, require different optimal heights. Therefore, a height-adjustable desk is the best option as you can adjust its height according to your needs. Besides that, you can decide if you want to sit or stand while working.
3. Ergonomic Keyboard
Most keyboards force your hands inward, causing your shoulders to hunch, putting extra stress on them. An ergonomic keyboard has a low, flat profile or tilts forward to keep your wrists in a neutral position. Some ergonomic keyboards split, letting you place each half of it in the best position for your hands and shoulders. If you do not want to learn how to use a split keyboard, you might choose one that partially splits or at least a keyboard without a number pad. Keyboards without a number pad keep the mouse closer to you, reducing stress on your arms.
4. Ergonomic Mouse
Repetitive movements on a touchpad or a standard mouse can cause stress and discomfort to your fingers and wrists. Try to find a mouse with a comfortable grip that fits in your hand. Another option to consider is the use of different input devices such as digital pens or trackball.
5. Display Set Within Arm’s Reach
To protect your eyes from strain, try to avoid craning or bending your neck to see what is on your monitor. The best level to place your screen is when the top of it is about two to three inches above your eye level. Consider a monitor arm, a laptop stand, or a height-adjustable desk to achieve so.
6. Good Lighting
Natural light exposure in your working space is ideal, as it can reduce eye strain while boosting a sense of well-being and energy. Windows facing outside, allows your eyes to relax and recover from using the computer. When working late or in the absence of windows, choose adjustable lights that can simulate natural lights.
Add items to your working space that help you relax and keep stress and anxiety at bay. Some great things could be noise-canceling headphones, plants, oil diffusers, or any other stress relief you prefer to use.
Having an ergonomic workstation means that your neck is not bent down or back, your arms are resting nicely, your back is not twisted, your eyes are not straining, and so on. Once your working space is adapted to you, you should be able to work comfortably for hours, but remember to take a break as often as possible.