Easy Tips for Creating an Ergonomic Workplace

itting at the workplace for hours at a time while staring at a computer screen is a surefire recipe for developing back and spine problems. Fortunately, you can avoid these problems by improving the ergonomics of your workstation. Ergonomics is the science of looking at how workers interact with their workspaces, with the aim of improving their safety and comfort and thus, boosting productivity and efficiency.

One of the most important things that ergonomics practice can do for you is to improve your posture while sitting. Poor posture, aggravated by sitting for hours at a time, can cause lower back and neck pain due to strain resulting from the muscles becoming tight. If not corrected, the effects of poor posture can become permanent, resulting in chronic pain and the neck becoming more prone to injury.

Although using an ergonomically designed chair is one of the basic things you can do to make your workplace more comfortable, there are many other simple steps you can take to improve its ergonomics. Here are some tips:

  • While sitting, make sure you maintain the correct posture. The ears, shoulders and hips should be aligned in a straight line and you should sit up straight with your back against the back of the chair. To avoid tiring, occasionally change positions by leaning forward with your back straight. You should also be able to reach things on your desk without stretching.

  • Take a break every thirty minutes. Stand up and, for two minutes, stretch and walk around.

  • If you have an adjustable office chair, adjust the height such that your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to it. If your feet don’t reach the floor, use a footrest. Adjust the height of the armrests such that you can comfortably rest your arms on them with your shoulders relaxed. Make sure that the armrests are always supporting the weight of your arms or you may suffer from shoulder and neck pain.

  • When working at a computer, the monitor should be at arm’s length from your head, and your wrists should be straight with your hands at elbow level or below it. The top of the monitor should be at eye level and no higher. As much as possible, the weight of your head should always be above the neck, which acts as its base of support.

  • There should be enough room under your desk to provide clearance for your feet, knees and thighs. If there isn’t, you can either raise the height of your chair if the desk is too high or place the legs on blocks or boards if it is too low.