There is a growing body of evidence that shows that humans were not meant to sit down at a workstation for 8-plus hours per day, regardless of whether they’re commuting or working from a home office. Anyone who works at a desk will be able to tell you, despite the fact that it is physically much easier than moving around, sitting for extended periods of time leads to a lot of health problems.
The solution? Office ergonomics. The practice making the workspace safer, more comfortable, and in turn, healthier using equipment attuned to our body’s natural positioning. Emphasizing office ergonomics in equipment purchases is an important work environment consideration for many companies.
Upgrading office furniture and other items in the workplace can provide major benefits, and there are lots of studies that agree. Take a moment to consider the following options for building a more ergonomic office.
Ergonomically Friendly Office Chairs
It should come as no surprise that when office workers are asked about what type of improvements they would like to see in the office environment, a large number of them ask for new chairs.
When working at a desk all day, most people are sitting on a standard office chair. If not properly designed, these chairs will result in poor posture, pressure points on your legs, and a variety of other problems. Fortunately, many office furniture manufacturers today design ergonomically friendly chairs that can make a huge difference for those who use them.
Office chairs that are designed to help keep your back straight, your shoulders back, and your legs supported are far more comfortable to sit in. In addition, since they provide better lumbar support, those who use them experience fewer aches and pains even after they get up and start moving around.
Another option to consider when deciding what type of chairs to have available is an exercise ball. Back pain is often the result of underdeveloped core muscles, and sitting on exercise balls is a fantastic way to build core strength during work hours.
Sure, these large, colorful balls may seem an odd fit for the workplace at first, but sitting on them forces the body to keep good posture and in turn activate the core muscles. Having a few exercise balls available to use as chairs for a couple of hours per day is an inexpensive benefit in an ergonomic office.
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Adjustable Height Workstations
In addition to office chairs, the desks are an important consideration for office ergonomics. This is why a growing number of people are investing in adjustable standing desks that can be raised up so that they can work while standing. Stand-up desks can be lowered if users get tired from standing and wish to resume use as a standard desk.
A standing desk in a workspace has a number of benefits. First, you increase activity and burn more calories which comes with a plethora of trickle-down effects: potentially lowering blood sugar, improving heart health, and aligning your mindset towards a more productive workday.
Additionally, standing desks improve posture which may alleviate neck and back pain. Making sure monitor height is at eye level is also important when you are standing or sitting, so make sure to adjust desk height accordingly as you raise or lower your vantage point.
When workers are sitting down, make sure to sit properly according to recommended guidelines: Feet flat, spine at a right angle with the lap, forearms parallel to the floor, head looking slightly down at their monitor. An under-desk footrest allows users to rock legs back and forth for better leg circulation and encourages good posture by engaging muscles while in a seated position. Legs should never be allowed to dangle free under a chair, so if workers aren’t tall enough to reach the floor, a footrest is a must.
Working while walking on a treadmill really amps up the burn when you’d otherwise be burning minimal calories. A treadmill desk attachment allows an employee to work on a laptop while getting in their daily steps. When they do not want to walk anymore, they just move the laptop to the other side of the desk, which is configured for a normal (ergonomically friendly) office chair.
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Ergonomically Friendly Keyboards and Mice
If you have ever looked at the way your fingers, wrists, shoulders, and arms are positioned while typing at a standard keyboard, it is easy to see that this is anything but natural. People who are working at a computer all day often experience pain and discomfort due to the harsh angles that their joints are forced to maintain.
While ergonomically friendly keyboards and an ergonomic computer mouse definitely look unusual, they are extremely effective at helping users to keep their joints in a more natural position. Using them in a desk setup can help avoid arthritis, carpal tunnel, and a variety of other problems.
For those who have been using a standard keyboard and mouse for a long time, switching to an ergonomic option will be difficult at first. The vast majority of people who commit to using the ergonomically friendly designs for two weeks, however, will never want to switch back once they get used to it.
Upgrading to this type of keyboard and mouse is a simple and affordable option that can have surprising benefits for the health and comfort of employees. It can even help them to be more productive while working!
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Consider All the Ergonomic Upgrades
Whenever looking for ways to improve the workspace, upgrading to more ergonomically friendly equipment should be at the top of your list. These recommendations apply whether workers are on-premises or work in their home offices.
In many cases, you can get ergonomic versions of things you were going to buy anyway without spending much (if any) more than you would otherwise have to. Whether you want to upgrade the office ergonomics at once, or just transition to more ergonomically friendly equipment slowly over time, it will be well worth the effort.
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