No matter what the work or the business is, everyone wants to cut down the investment cost and maximize productivity and revenue. It is possible by applying ergonomics in your workspace. Ergonomics not only minimizes workspace injuries but also improves focus and productivity. The most important thing is the desk setup where you are going to accomplish your major tasks. Compromises can be made in the surroundings, but no compromise can be made at the desk setup.
In comparison to sitting desks, the sit-stand desks are more ergonomic. When combined with the following aspects, they can give you the best workspace ever:
Height of the Desk
The standard height of most office desks is usually 28 to 30 inches. However, the height of an ergonomic desk is determined by the height of the person using it. If the desk is too low, it can cause neck pain in users due to bending down for longer periods. The person may have to stretch his arms down which can lead to static tension of arm muscles and hence pain. On the other hand, if the desk is high above a person's reach, it can cause back pain and discomfort in the arms, hands, and shoulders. Awkward postures of the person trying to reach the work surface will lead to posture-related issues as well.
Another important thing to consider while choosing an ergonomic desk is your work position. Whether you are sitting or standing while working is the point of discourse. Although standings desks are becoming more popular as compared to sitting desks due to the health benefits they offer, an ergonomic desk should be height adjustable. While using an adjustable height desk one can alter his position as standing for long hours bring health hazards too. That’s why adjustable desks are called sit-stand desks. Another benefit of these desks is that people of varying heights can work on the same desk.
Size of the Working Surface
60 x 30 inches is the standard commercial office size for the working space of the standing desk. Wide desks are more ergonomically friendly. They provide enough space to accommodate your workspace essentials such as a monitor, keyboard, file storage, lamp, and a clock. After placing these things, there should be enough writing space and still should have more storage options to stay organized and productive. 71 to 79 inches is an optimal width for an ergonomic depth. The depth of the desk is also important. OSHA recommends a minimum separation depth of 18 inches for knees and 24 inches for feet under the desk.
Placement of the Monitor
The position of the monitor on the desk is very important. It should be placed right in front of you. If it is placed either on your left or right, you will have to turn your neck for long hours resulting in neck pain and numbness. Ergonomically, the screen should be placed at a height such that its upper edge is one finger below the center of your eyes. Besides the position and height, the distance between the screen and the eyes also matters. It should be neither less nor more than 20 to 40 inches. If the distance is less than 20 inches, your eyesight will be affected and in case it's more than 40 inches, you have to lean forward resulting in strain on the neck and back muscles. You have to exert greater stress on the eyes to focus on the screen. Tilt the screen up to 10 to 20 degrees and not more than this. The improper position is equal to eye strain, and pain in the shoulders, neck, and back due to improper posture.
Position of Keyboard and Mouse
Just like the monitor, the keyboard should be placed right before you. The keyboard should be placed 3-4 inches from the edge of the desk. The person should not have to lift the arms which can put a strain on the shoulders. The forearm should be parallel to the level of the keyboard, wrists should be flat or angled downwards. A higher level of keyboard causes pain in the wrist and swelling of tendons.
A mouse should be placed at a distance such that the angle of your forearm from the edge of the table is not greater than 90°. The wrist should not bend too much when using the mouse. In the case of laptops, ergonomically ideal screen and keyboard placement are usually not possible. In such a case, you can get an external keyboard.
Arrangement of Working Essentials
Daily working essentials should be in direct access to the person. Reaching out to the things you need after each minute will cause exhaustion. It’s best to store the things that are not used often in the desk drawer. Use a document holder to avoid clutter and remain organized. Books in use should be placed in one spot. Use cable ties to avoid mess due to cables on the workspace. Unnecessary decorations can distract you, so keep them to the minimum.
Adjust a workflow on your work surface from left to right. The right side of the desk should be free to place essentials when needed. The majority of the supplies should be placed on the left side and moved to the right only when needed. You can have better access to things from the right.
Lighting and Plants
Lighting is a crucial part of office ergonomics. Very bright or dim lights put a strain on the eyes and can cause headaches and stress. The worker might suffer general sickness. Moreover, the color temperature of the light source highly affects your mood and focus. Besides maintaining the right light within the office environment, it will be great if natural light can easily make its way to your workspace. So placing the desk beside a window is thoughtful. Yes, you can easily get distracted from the view outside so place it at the right angle to the window.
Viewing the garden through the window during your break time increases productivity and focus. Keeping low maintenance plants like peace lily, aloe vera, and cactus helps prevent fatigue and improve focus during strenuous work. Psychologists at Exeter University while working with plants demonstrated that their productivity levels were boosted by 15%.
The Posture of the Person
Even if you have an excellent ergonomic setup but your posture is not right, you won’t get any benefit. Sitting up straight and avoiding leaning forward or backward helps prevent issues of spine and back muscles. To maintain the right posture ears, shoulders and hips should align. Eye-level should match the optimal height of the screen. Forearms and thighs should be parallel to the surface on which they lie. The arm should make an 'L' while working. The feet should be on the floor with forelegs straight. Prolonged posture can be tiring. Giving yourself some breaks is a good idea while working.
Ergonomics is very important in a workspace. The most essential part is the desk setup. Among the types available out there, sit-stand desks are the most ergonomic ones. While setting up the workspace, you need to be considerate of the desk height, length, and width of the work surface, position of the essentials on the desktop, proper workflow, lighting, and even your posture.