Sitting at a desk all day in front of a computer can cause health problems, especially if the work space does not have the proper ergonomics. At the end of the day, employees may complain about being a little stiff or sore, which could eventually lead to serious health conditions and greatly affect efficiency and productivity. Fortunately, this problem can be solved by simple inexpensive adjustments that can prevent health complaints such as back or neck strain or more serious health conditions such as tendonitis and carpel tunnel syndrome.
Work Space Redesigns
Preventing lower back strain requires a comfortable desk chair with a supportive back. Adjust the chairs so the employee can sit comfortably with their feet flat on the floor while allowing the knees to bend without any hindrance at about 90 degrees. Workers should be able to sit back properly in the chair while having the top of the desk meet their elbows.
Neck strain can be prevented by setting the computer monitor at eye level. There are newer designs of flat screen monitors (LCD or LED) which have accommodating stands for appropriate height and angle adjustments. These newer flat panel monitors have good resolution to help prevent eye strain. Adjust the screen far enough away from the eyes for proper reading.
Tendonitis and carpel tunnel syndrome can be prevented by using the mouse and keyboard correctly. Arms should be bent at 90 degrees at the elbow in order for the forearms to comfortably rest on the desk. If possible, adjust keyboard and mouse angle so the user is not required to bend their wrists while operating these devices. There are certain keyboard designs that have space down the middle which allows the two hands to type comfortably away from each other.
Increased Productivity and Efficiency
Most people have mistakenly viewed ergonomics as using the latest gadgets and gizmos; actually, this means the science of fitting an area to employees in order to increase productivity and efficiency. Even without these specific types of equipment, certain measures can be taken to improve the ergonomics of each individual area. Other simple interventions can help workers who sit at a computer all day as well. For example, allowing employees to take short breaks will significantly decrease some health issues at the office while providing areas that allow for regular changes of posture can also help to increase efficiency.
Supports Workplace Diversity
The greatest benefit of turning a regular office space into an ergonomic one is the ability to accommodate a wide variety of workers. By avoiding work stations of a "one-size-fits-all" concept, managers can accommodate workers of all age groups as well as those with physical limitations who need access to necessary equipment. The specific health condition of any employee, ranging from pregnancy to quadriplegia, can be addressed through the adaptation of ergonomic methods. These three-fold benefits can be described as: adhering to the legal requirements by providing appropriate and adequate accommodations; boosting employee morale with such measures by conveying a sense of concern for the diverse needs of workers; and recognizing the benefit of ergonomics to all workers including those who are physically challenged.
Transforming a present office space into an ergonomic workplace may require professional advice. Since it is a fact that office needs vary from one to another, it is best for managers to consider talking to an ergonomic consultant to get the best professional advice for the desired changes. By making these changes, employees will gain a feeling of importance both for themselves and for the jobs that they perform – what a positive impact!