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Occupational ergonomics – what you need to know

Posted by Anthony Spencer on

What is occupational ergonomics and how you can create a more ergonomic workplace:

The importance of a properly designed workplace is often overlooked. Occupational ergonomics helps to support your movements and minimise strain. It is important to set up your work environment accordingly and consider certain behaviours.

You can minimise poor posture and pain through balanced movements and an ergonomic workplace. Find out the benefits that await, below.

01. What is ergonomics?

The term ‘ergonomics’ is based on the Ancient Greek words ‘ergon’ (work) and 'nomos’ (laws). Ergonomics is often defined as ‘the scientific study of human work’. But that sounds a little abstract, doesn’t it? More simply put, ergonomics deals with adapting your workplace, work equipment and systems to your requirements. For you, this means improved well-being at work and increased productivity.

02. Your ergonomic workplace: 8 key points to consider

  • Proper workplace lighting & natural light

  • Optimum temperature and humidity

  • Little noise

  • Adequate space

  • Healthy upper body and leg position

  • Perfect chair height

  • Optimum chair width

  • Height-adjustable desk

03. How to design your workplace:

Office Ergonomics

For optimum concentration, the room temperature should be between 20 and 22°C. Ensure plenty of fresh air and adequate natural light - artificial lighting should be avoided where possible. To prevent windows and sources of light from reflecting off your screen, your desk should be situated in beside a window leaving the glare coming from either the left or right side of the screen (turn your head 90' and you will be able to look out the window).

Daylight is best from a side angle as the backlight can strain the eyes.

For your healthy workspace, you should set up your office or home office (where possible) to personally suit you. This might mean a few plants, which also improve room climate, or rugs that also absorb sound and act as noise protection.

And, since back, neck and shoulder pain are the most common causes of poor posture that we have become familiar with in the office, you should remember to stand up regularly throughout the working day or change your sitting position. Another key factor for a healthy desk and workstation is that your office chair, desk and monitor are perfectly aligned with one another. Also, your monitor shouldn’t be too small. Working on a (too small) laptop screen is both bad for your posture and eyes.

01 The ergonomic desk

 

Ergonomic working can only really happen if your desk is set up properly. Height-adjustable desks are ideal as they allow working while standing and can be adjusted based on your height. Your desk should be at least 80 cm deep and 160 cm wide to provide enough space for your work equipment. To achieve the optimum desk height, your elbow and knee joints should roughly form a 90° angle, allowing you to rest your forearms on the desk. Your shoulders should be relaxed while sitting or standing at the desk. This ensures the optimum height for your standing workstation.

We recommend adding the SMART STANDING DESK MAT under the feet to provide a supportive base with the option to massage while working. To give your legs enough freedom of movement under the desk, you should have sufficient width (approx. 120 cm) and depth (approx. 80 cm).

Cables and power strips, waste bins and other items are best stored away. If you work while standing, even pressure should be placed on the soles of both feet. It is recommended to stand close to the desk and ensure an upright posture.

02 Ergonomic monitor position

To set up your workstation and ensure an ergonomic monitor height, the upper edge of the screen should be at eye level. You can also tilt the screen upwards slightly to see the entire screen better while keeping your spine straight. Your head should be around 50-70 cm from the monitor. This allows you to view the entire screen without having to turn your head in one direction. Make sure that your monitor isn’t too small. Working every day on a (too small) laptop screen is both bad for your posture and eyes.

03 Setting up the keyboard and computer mouse for an ergonomic workstation

The keyboard and mouse should sit directly under your hands. Ideally, your wrists should be straight, rather than bent. As described above, your forearms should be fully or partially horizontal to the desk, allowing you to orientate yourself and use your keyboard and mouse while keeping your forearms in a stable position.

04 The office chair and sitting position

While sitting, around 40 percent more pressure is put on our spine compared to standing. An ergonomic office chair with a supportive backrest and armrest is therefore extremely important - not just because of the added comfort but also for our health. An ergonomic sitting posture is only possible if your upper and lower legs form a right angle and the soles of your feet are placed flat on the ground. Your thighs should be horizontal to the seat. The seat height depends on your height and should be around 42-53 cm tall and 40-48 cm wide. 

To protect your back and relieve the spine and intervertebral discs, you should use the entire area of the seat - not just the edge.

We have created the perfect collection of tools to make your work day/week/year as easy & pain-free as possible.

Check out the OFFICE COLLECTION HERE

 


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