Applying Ergonomics in the Office
Read our guide to applying ergonomics in the office.
An ergonomic office is one that employs furniture that suits workers and the jobs they perform. Office ergonomics relates to furniture such as chairs, computer desks, and workstations, but it can also refer to “environmental factors, which can affect hearing, vision, and general comfort and health.” (1) Designing an office with ergonomics in mind benefits all office workers and can even lead to improved efficiency and production. If you are trying to incorporate more ergonomic features into your office, the following tips can help.
It’s important for office designers to choose seating that is ergonomically designed. Ergonomic chairs support workers’ good posture. Workers will experience less fatigue and discomfort when sitting in ergonomically designed chairs. In addition to seating, company offices should consider installing stand-to-sit worktables or desks. Sitting all day long is not conducive to employees’ good health. By standing for a portion of the day, workers will relieve stress on their joints and may even reduce their risk for heart attack. Some workers prefer to stand at their desk throughout the day; be sure that workers have a mat to stand on so that they won’t feel discomfort in their feet or ankles due to the stress of standing.
An office that is crowded and doesn’t allow employees to stretch out and freely move may not be ergonomically sound. Be sure that computer monitors are within optimum reach and that there is plenty of lighting for employees to perform all their work as well. You can also try to design a space that reduces exterior noise so that employees will be able to work in a more serene setting.
Choose a Designer
When designing your office, you should work with a firm that specializes in ergonomic designs (2). Your design team should have experience installing ergonomic features so it can coach you about best practices. By considering elements like ventilation, acoustics, and furnishings, your firm will help you select the best design to enhance your office team. Your firm will be able to help you choose “the right office furniture system” for your space.
Coach Employees about Ergonomics
Aside from furniture and other office ergonomic elements, workers should also practice ergonomic techniques to make the most of their ergonomic office space. Employees should sit up straight when seated at their desk. They should also try to sit as close to their desk as they can. Chair should also not be adjusted too high or it can induce ankle swelling. Workers who experience foot pain or ankle swelling might want to consider placing a stool beneath their desk to prop up their feet. Finally, make sure that you watch your posture and avoid slouching, which can put undo strain on your lower back and spine.
An ergonomic office is about design, furnishings, and also employees’ own behaviors. By creating an ergonomic office setting and instructing employees about ergonomics, offices can achieve a more productive setting that will enhance employees’ well being.
- Oklahoma State University, “Office Ergonomics,” http://ehs.okstate.edu/modules/ergo/What.htm
- Ergonomic Solutions, http://www.expectsolutions.com/services/ergonomic_evaluations