From the Greek word for work (ergon) and the English word economics, the concept of ergonomics has been with us since 1950. Originally it referred to a scientific study of worker efficiency. Today, more often than not, it’s described as the science of comfort. But, of course, the two definitions are closely intertwined, as the more comfortable someone is, the more efficient and productive they tend to be.
The following are Flow’s top 5 tips for an ergonomically sound office space where fatigue and discomfort are a thing of the past.
1. Choose a Good Chair.
Or ideally a great chair. First and foremost, you need a chair that supports the curvature of your spine. You also need a chair with adjustable height so you can ensure that your feet are resting flat on the floor (or on a footrest) and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Also, adjustable armrests keep your arms resting gently and your shoulders fully relaxed.
There is also the question of slide and tilt. Having a seat that slides is essential for taller people as it enables them to support the backs of their legs. Meanwhile, seat tilt allows smaller people to reach the floor with their feet, ensuring blood flow to the legs. The optimum angle for a seat is actually tilted slightly forward at an angle of 15 degrees.
There are some revolutionary new chairs entering the market which only adjust in height as every other component is free moving. The Trinetic chair by Boss Design is a state-of-the-art new office chair that only requires height adjustment as every other component is free moving and automatically adjusts to the natural movements of the body, ensuring permanent support in any position. This is the future of seating.
Bonus tip: Use the back of your chair. That’s what it’s there for. Don’t slouch. Don’t hunch. Don’t perch on the edge like a pigeon.
2. Check the position of keyboard, monitor and mouse.
Make sure that your mouse is within easy reach and at the same height as your keyboard. While you’re working, keep your wrists straight, your hands at the same level as your elbows and your upper arms as close to your body as possible. Your monitor should be an arm’s length away, and the top of it a couple of inches above eye-level. This will help to keep your body unhunched. Avoid screen glare if at all possible.
Bonus tip: Cut down on mouse-use by mastering as many keyboard shortcuts as you can.
3. Rest Those Feet.
If your chair doesn’t allow you to rest your feet on the floor, get a new chair. If you can’t get a new chair, or maybe your desk is too high and requires that you keep your chair at an unnatural height, get yourself a footrest. If no footrest is immediately available, find a footrest equivalent, even if it’s just a couple of old encyclopaedias. Basically, when your feet are flat, your whole body is more stabilised.
4. Get Yourself a Headset.
If you find yourself regularly talking on the phone and using your computer at the same time, be sure to get yourself a headset. Handsfree is also an option, just as long as you’re not going to be annoying anyone. Whatever you do, don’t cradle the phone between neck and head, this can cause muscle and nerve problems.
5. Get a Spacious Desk.
Make sure there’s space for your legs — both knees, both thighs, both feet — and if there isn’t because your desk is too low, raise it on blocks, (or get a new, ergonomically sound desk). If your desk is too high to accommodate your body in its optimum position, raise your chair and use a footrest. And if the edge of your desk is uncomfortably hard or sharp, be sure to pad the edge or get hold of a wrist rest.
In summary: no reaching, no stretching, no straining, no squinting. If you need any more information, or you’d like to opt for some of the most ergonomically sound office furniture available, give us a call at Flow today on 01922 453 488.