Office Ergonomics – Tips to Avoid Discomfort and Pain

The purpose of office ergonomics is to design the workstation to fit in within the limitations and capabilities of the worker with an objective of providing utmost comfort to the worker.

The sole purpose of office ergonomics is to build and design office spaces that focus on the employees’ health and comfort. A properly designed workstation aims at providing a comfortable environment to the worker thereby maximising his/her productivity and efficiency.

An unhealthy or uncomfortable office environment is the last thing an employee would want to face. It is imperative for every organisation to take care of its employees’ health and well planned and executed office ergonomics is the first step towards it.

How to Avoid Discomfort & Pain in Office?

The changing work-life has increased the average time people tend to spend in their office. The statistics say that today an average person spends around 13 years of their life at work. The long working hours has paved the way for a sedentary lifestyle which is one of the leading causes of various health issues.

An ergonomically set-up office or workstation will help in avoiding discomfort and pain.

Here are some helpful tips to follow:

The Desk

The design of the desk plays a vital role in ensuring comfort. The rest of the peripherals like chair and computer positioning are dependent upon the design of the desk. The height of the counter should be such the employee can rest their elbows at the desk while working. This will provide support to the shoulders. Working with elevated shoulders or leaning forward towards the desk is not ideal for long sitting hours.

The Right Chair

A person spends around 8-10 hours sitting at their desk. A wrong sitting position on a wrong chair is one of the main reasons behind backaches, neck and shoulder pains. The chair should be well cushioned with extra support for the lower back. The height of the chair should be based on the height of the workstation or desk. The armrest should be high enough to provide support to the person while working on the computer. It is advisable to use chairs with adjustable height as well as armrests.

Footrest

More often than not, people tend to overlook the importance of footrest while designing a workstation. Spending around 8 hours every day with the feet dangling in the air increases the chances of developing chronic backaches, low blood circulation and high risk of arthritis. The height of the chair should be such that the person can rest their feet on the ground and if this is not in alignment with the height of the desk, make a provision for a footrest.

The positioning of the computer or laptop

Improper positioning of the computer or laptop can strain the employee’s neck and shoulders which, in turn, can affect the spine. One shouldn’t need to crane or bend their neck while working. The laptop or computer screen should be at the eye-level and keyboard right in front of the monitor. The placement should be such that the person working at the desk shouldn’t need to twist and turn their head frequently.

Make the employees move

Desk jobs can be tiresome for the body. Every organisation should take efforts to increase its employees’ mobility around the office. This can be done by placing water-cooler or coffee machines at some distance from the workstations along with the printers and photocopying machines. This will allow the employee to move around the office from time to time.

Desk Lighting

The most neglected thing while designing a workstation in an office is the desk light. The office space might be adequately lit with artificial and natural light but having a desk light helps in reducing the eye strain thereby eliminating chances of headaches. Reading or working on a computer/laptop in a low or bad light is one of the most common causes of recurring headaches in adults.

The office ergonomics can help only as much in reducing or decreasing the discomfort and pain of long sitting hours. Besides the ergonomics, it is important to maintain a good sitting posture while working at the desk. Take regular breaks to stand up and move around a bit as well as stretch your body. A good office ergonomic coupled with healthy workstation practices can help in eradicating health issues caused due to the negligence during the office hours.