TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE WORK ERGONOMICS
Follow these 10 office ergonomics tips to help you avoid fatigue:
1) Make sure that the weight of your arms is supported at all times. If your arms are not supported, the muscles of your neck and shoulders will be crying by the end of the day.
2) Watch your head position, and try to keep the weight of your head directly above its base of support (neck). Don’t “crane” your head and neck forward.
3) Don’t be a slouch! Slouching puts more pressure on the discs and vertebrae of your back. Use the lumbar support of your chair and avoid sitting in a way that places body weight more on one than on the other. Move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and reaching. Make sure to “scoot” your chair in every time you sit down when using effective work ergonomics.
4) The monitor should be placed directly in front of you, with the top no higher than eye level. The keyboard should be directly in front of the monitor so you don’t have to frequently turn your head and neck.
5) Talking on the phone with the phone receiver jammed between the neck and ear is really bad practice. You know that’s true, so don’t do it!
6) The keyboard and the mouse should close enough to prevent excessive reaching which strains the shoulders and arms.
7) Avoid eye strain by making sure that your monitor is not too close, it should be at least an arm’s length away.
8) Take steps to control screen glare, and make sure that the monitor is not placed in front of a window or a bright background.
9) You can rest your eyes periodically for several seconds by looking at objects at a distance to give your eyes a break.
10) The feet should not be dangling when you are seated. If your feet don’t comfortably reach the floor or there is pressure on the backs of your legs, use a footrest or lower the keyboard and chair. Make a habit of incorporating effective work ergonomics
Take the free office ergonomics workstation self-assessment
Properly designed computer workstations help team members feel comfortable and can increase their productivity. Have them go through the free office ergonomics self-assessment and ensure your employees’ workstations are set up correctly.
ACTIVE OR DYNAMIC SEATING
Researchers have found that, beyond a threshold of about two hours per day, excessive sitting is correlated with stiffness in the carotid artery and in the femoral arteries, and that physical exercise did not appear to offset those negative effects. However, it is possible to stand, or even walk in practicing effective work ergonomics, while using a computer.
Active or dynamic sitting is the opposite of static sitting. Static sitting occurs when seating is rigid, and results in sustained mechanical tissue loading. The bodily strain occurring with traditional rigid seating is widely thought to contribute to negative health effects. The human body is not well adapted for long hours spent sitting in a restrictive or constrained posture. In static sitting, the abdominal muscles may instinctively relax and even atrophy over prolonged periods of lessened physical activity.
Furthermore, the prolonged postural loading of the spine while sitting, without natural movement and mobilization of the spinal joints, can reduce joint lubrication and increase stiffness, which can be detrimental to back health. Circulation, particularly of the legs, can be adversely affected as well. In fact, back pain and circulation discomfort are part of a growing avalanche of complaints which can be attributed in part to extensive static sitting.
Additionally, sustained postures at a computer can place the upper back and neck muscles into positions of strain that, when combined with stress factors, contribute to muscle tension and resulting pain. The field of ergonomics recognizes that only in recent history is a large proportion of the human population sitting for long periods with little movement. The rising number of office jobs, as well as driving, contributes to the increased amount of static sitting that occurs.
AVOID FATIGUE WITH EFFECTIVE WORK ERGONOMICS
The field of effective work ergonomics, in particular that of office furniture, now offers various active sitting products that enable different kinds of movement: forward and backward, lateral (side to side), 360 degree wobble, etc. It is important to note that the ergonomic research also indicates that – although movement is necessary – it is not enough. All movements are not the same; there are movements to be avoided.
For example, movement that alternates between different awkward sitting postures that repeatedly load the same joints will provide little benefit. The benefits of active sitting are understood to occur with movements through a graded range of centered and symmetrical postures in effective work ergonomics. The active and controlled postural positions in sitting are believed to activate and strengthen muscles in the back and core area, to relieve the static loads acting on joints, ligaments, and tendons, and to promote circulation for elimination of waste products. Thus, a dynamic, ergonomic sitting position is believed to lead to improved posture, core stability, and circulation.