13th January 2023

Ergonomics – Everything You Need to Know

industrial style desk and chairs with man sat at desk

Ergonomics has become a hot topic among employers interested in boosting productivity while keeping employees healthy. So, what is it? It is the field of study concerned with optimising workers’ efficiency, comfort and health in their workplaces.

Unsurprisingly, ergonomics is an increasingly important topic in today’s workplace. As companies strive to meet the demands of a growing economy and a mobile workforce, they are looking for ways to boost productivity while keeping employees healthy. 

What is ergonomics?

The term ‘ergonomics’ comes from two Greek words: ergon, meaning ‘work’, and nomos, meaning ‘theory’. Ergonomics studies how humans interact with their environment to do work or other activities.

Ergonomics is primarily concerned with the design of equipment and systems and how these can be improved to fit in with human physiology. It is also concerned with creating workstations, tools and processes that will enable people to do their jobs more safely and effectively.

Ergonomics aims to reduce workplace injury and ill health by focusing on the interaction between humans and their working environment. This includes all aspects of industrial design, including office furniture and computer equipment, as well as manufacturing processes, such as assembly lines.

Here’s a few pointers on what you can check at your own desk to make sure you’re working ergonomically:

Chair

The most crucial piece of furniture to consider is the chair. Ergonomic chairs support your body so you can sit for long periods without getting tired or experiencing back pain. A good ergonomic chair will have an adjustable seat height, armrests, and a backrest that supports your spine. The seat pan should be deep enough to allow your legs to rest comfortably at about 15 degrees from a horizontal angle.

Desk 

The desk should have enough space to accommodate your keyboard and mouse and any other equipment you need. It should also be the right height to type without bending or reaching for your keys. Your elbows should be at about a 90-degree angle when typing.

If you want to go one step further, consider switching to a height-adjustable desk. These are becoming much more common when considering ergonomics. You can also stand while you work to give your back a break. There are also many other reasons to treat yourself to a sit-stand desk, here are our top 10.

Monitor 

It’s easy to get the monitor placement wrong when it comes to ergonomics. The monitor should be placed at a height that allows you to look straight ahead, with your eyes level with the top of the screen. You should also have enough room to move your head from side to side without hitting anything. The best way to achieve this is by placing the monitor on an adjustable stand so that you can adjust its height and angle as needed.

Keyboard & Mouse

The keyboard and mouse should be placed so you can use them comfortably. The distance between your body and the keyboard should be such that your wrists are straight while typing. Your elbows should also not touch the desk when typing.

Footrest

It would help if you had a footrest that supports your legs in the correct position. This will help you avoid back pain caused by long periods of sitting down. The footrest should be placed on the floor to support the balls of your feet when seated comfortably in front of the monitor.

Other Key Items

Another thing to remember when creating an ergonomic environment is to ensure that any other accessories on your desk are easily accessible. This includes items such as pens, calculators, phones and other small devices you may need. You should also have space on your desk for a cup of coffee or water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

The key to healthy (and safe) working conditions is a stimulating workplace with plenty of room for movement, which can make all the difference for workers. And to achieve this goal, employers are turning to ergonomics professionals—a vital resource for optimising their work environment.


Paige Allison

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