A Definitive Guide to Workspace Ergonomics.
It’s no secret that we spend a large chunk of our lives working. Monday through Friday, 40 plus hours per week, we can be found in our office, at our desk, or wherever else our careers might take us. With such a vast amount of time spent doing this, it has become more important than ever to focus on comfort and functionality. Ergonomic workspaces have become even more of a hot topic over the last few years as the pandemic created a massive uprising in work-from-home setups. Although some companies are transitioning back into an in-office setting, the needs of the employees remain. Regardless of the setting in which you spend your days, curating a comfortable setup is crucial for your physical well-being. Below are the six most impactful elements to cultivating the ideal ergonomic workspace.
Grab a Height Adjustable Desk
Arguably the most essential addition to your new ergonomic workspace is going to be a height adjustable desk. First and foremost, sitting for eight or more hours a day is neither healthy nor comfortable. Sitting for such long periods of time has been associated with heart disease, diabetes, and blood clotting. With an adjustable desk, you have the option to sit for a portion of the day, stand for others, and even walk while working if you elect to invest in a desk treadmill. This variety is beneficial for posture and back pain, not to mention the 45% increase in productivity. You’ll be able to complete work faster, increase your daily calorie burn, and avoid the crippling back pain that comes with absurd amounts of sitting.
Find Your Ideal Lighting
Lighting has a massive impact on your ability to complete work throughout the day. Not only does it have an impact on your mood and productivity, but you also run the risk of straining your eyes if it’s not quite bright enough. Natural light is the first choice when the option is available, but for the times when it is not, you’ll need to explore a combination of supplemental lights for maximum comfort. Ambient lighting is found in most homes, while fluorescent bulbs are common in office spaces. In addition to the pre-existing lighting, you’ll want to add task lighting that allows you to focus the bulb where you need it most. The key is finding a lamp that can easily flex and move with you as your projects take you to different areas of the workspace.
Score the Perfect Mouse and Keyboard
This one flies under the radar, but your mouse and keyboard are two of the most critical tools in your workspace overall. If you’re tripping over cords, losing connection with the mouse, or getting frustrated with a slippery grip, you’re losing valuable time and patience that you need in your workday. You’ll want to find a mouse and keyboard that have a comfortable grip, allowing you to smoothly type and click as needed. A mouse that fits well within your hand is crucial to making sure you won’t have to battle uncomfortable finger cramps. Palm grip, claw grip, and fingertip grip are the three most common styles of mouses on the market currently. Each offers unique aspects that are entirely up to user preference. As far as avoiding tangled cords, wireless is undoubtedly the best option, and this is available in both keyboards and mice.
Invest in Ergonomic Seating
For the times when you do choose to sit, you’ll need a spot that supports your back adequately and offers enough cushion without causing you to sink down into the chair. Ergonomic seating helps the body stay in alignment, which has a significant impact on aches and pains. Improved blood circulation and decreased hip pressure are added benefits as well. Some of the most effective seating options include adjustable height, a wide seat cushion, a five-point base, and plush fabric. Opt for a chair with a head or neck rest as well to feel a difference in your spinal pressure. You’ll quickly notice improvements in your posture, a decrease in shoulder stiffness, and flexibility to adjust as needed.
Raise Up Your Tech
There is certainly a theme here with adjustability, and for a good reason. Being able to raise your technology up eliminates the strain that you experience when you have to reach up, down, or across to access a tool you need. A great example of this is hunching your back as you reach downwards towards your laptop. By using laptop or monitor risers, you can keep your body in alignment no matter what. It also impacts eye and neck strain as well. When your laptop or monitor is lifted up to eye level, you can set your gaze directly ahead while avoiding a tilt in the neck. You can also have it raised up far enough to fit an external keyboard, which improves typing ability and comfort as well. Having the laptop off the desk decreases the chances that it’ll overheat and delay your productivity as well. Overall, it’s a win-win in our book.
Get the Correct Monitor Size
Remember when your parents told you not to sit too close to the TV screen? Well, they had a point. Choosing the correct monitor size relies on the distance from where you sit to your screen. If the screen is too small, you’ll be tempted to move closer, which can cause eye strain. In contrast, if the screen is too far away, you’ll be squinting just to see it. Anywhere from 50 to 100 cm away from the screen generally works for most people, but you’ll have to play around with what’s most comfortable for you. Aspects like screen resolution and pixel density also play a role in this science. Opting for a mid-size screen, around 24 to 27 inches seems to be a good go-to for those of average height.