What is Ergonomics?
“Ergonomics” has been a hot topic since we’ve started working from home. You’ve probably seen ergonomic chairs, ergonomic footrests, and even ergonomic gaming keyboards! But have you ever wondered what exactly “ergonomics” is? We’re here to break it down for you.
Ergonomics is “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.”
In an office environment, ergonomics is the science of making your working environment productive and comfortable, by reducing muscle strain and preventing injury throughout the day.
Why Are Ergonomics Important?
Just like any job, sitting at a desk for a long period of time can cause injuries. Yes—you can raise your risk of disease even if you’re just sitting down at work! This risk of getting injured is even higher if your workspace is not tailored to your height and posture needs.
Prioritizing ergonomics is especially important in an environment where you’re doing repetitive work or sitting in one position for a long time. Typing, writing, or clicking for hours on end without a break leaves you at a greater risk of developing RSIs (Repetitive Strain Injuries) like carpal tunnel syndrome, a type of musculoskeletal injury caused by repetitive motions in your arms and hands. A desk or an office chair adjusted improperly can be a pain in the neck (literally). All of these workplace injuries can easily be avoided by practicing proper ergonomics.
Sitting at work, on the couch, and even on the commute to work has led to a condition which doctors are calling the “sitting disease.” Did you know that the average office worker spends almost 21 hours a day sitting or lying down? This sedentary lifestyle can cause greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Ergonomics aims to reduce these injuries with alternative solutions--that’s where ergonomic furniture comes in handy! By reducing pains and strains in the workplace, you’ll be able to focus on your work with a clear mind.
Ergonomics in the Workplace
The easiest way to fight sitting disease is to stand up! Remember to take breaks every half hour and get that blood moving! Combat sore muscles with a quick coffee run, or stand during your snack break and stretch out those legs. Movement and activity are key in preventing sitting disease.
Prioritize your health with an electric sit-stand desk. Contrary to popular belief, working at a standing desk doesn’t mean you should be standing all day! A sit-stand desk helps you to easily switch from a sitting to standing position as you work, alleviating the muscle strain caused by working in one position for too long.
Working from a standing position has been proven to reduce lower back tension. Electric sit-stand desks make it easy to switch between seated and standing positions, helping you to stay in the zone and focus on your work. Adjust the height with the push of a button—no need to strain to lift or lower the desktop.
PRO TIP: Discomfort while standing? Try an ergonomic anti-fatigue floor mat. These mats are made of a thick, super-soft foam layer that cushions your feet for ultimate comfort and support.
What is an Ergonomic Chair?
Sitting with improper posture can cause back pain, neck cramps, and stiff elbows and knees. Without proper support as you work, sitting slouched or hunched can leave you with lasting aches and muscle pain. Make sure your ergonomic office chair is fully adjustable and customizable so that your neck, spine, hips, and feet all remain in a natural position. (Check out our complete guide on sitting posture here!)
If you tend to fidget while you’re sitting down, try active sitting. A wobble stool can keep your core muscles and legs engaged and allows for gentle movements while you’re sitting at your desk. Remember—movement is key!
What Are Proper Desk Ergonomics?
Your ergonomic setup should accommodate your sitting and standing positions without you feeling cramped or strained. Your desk and chair should allow your body to rest in its most natural positions when you’re working! When you’re sitting, your feet should be flat on the ground (or on a footrest, if your feet don’t reach the ground). Adjust the armrests so your forearms are supported when you’re using your mouse.
When you’re standing, your forearms should rest comfortably on the desktop without you having to raise your shoulders. Position your monitor so that the top of your monitor is at eye level (your head and neck should be as upright as possible). Try an adjustable monitor mount for full freedom when adjusting your monitor height and angle. (Check out our full guide to desk adjustments here.)
Looking For Ways To Implement Office Ergonomics? EFFYDESK Is Here To Help!
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To learn more about EFFYDESK’s products and services, be sure to check out our FAQ page or browse our ergomindfulness blog for more helpful articles on ergonomics in the workplace.