What is an ergonomic workstation?
Ergonomics is a process in which workplaces, products, or systems are arranged or designed to fit the individuals who use them. Instead of expecting people to adapt to a design that forces them to work in an uncomfortable, stressful or dangerous way, ergonomists and human factors specialists try to understand how a product, workplace or system can be designed to make end user as comfortable as possible.
Understanding what ergonomics is can greatly help employees, employers, and those who are self-employed. Having an ergonomic workspace may seem challenging for some but we’re here to show how ergonomics can work for you.
Creating an effective ergonomic workstation varies from person to person. Our Head of Ergonomics, Chris Barlow explains “An ergonomic workstation is an area that is designed based on the body specification and needs of each individual. Having the correct posture means that the height of the chair, the height of the monitor, and other equipment you will be using for work do not disrupt the correct posture of your body.
Our professional DSE assessments analyze your specific requirements, and our recommendations are completely unique to you.”
How to set up an ergonomic workspace (a step-by-step guide)
Choose the right equipment
Using the right ergonomic equipment when setting up your workstation is essential. The equipment you choose will have a huge impact on the outcome.
Make sure that your desk is large enough to fit all the equipment you will need to put on it; laptop, keyboard, mouse, monitors, and everything else. Depending on your type of work you may need two monitors or a CPU, all of which needs to be considered. Other jobs may only require a laptop and a monitor. Regardless of your setup, make sure that you are using a desk that gives you enough room for everything that you need.
There are a wide range of ergonomic desks to help make your working environment more comfortable. Some individuals prefer a single-layer table. Whilst others prefer a drawer for the keyboard. Again, this is a choice that is entirely up to you. However our dedicated DSE assessors can help guide you and recommend suitable products based on your needs.
Effective ergonomic chairs are a key part of making a workstation comfortable. When choosing a chair that you might have to sit on for hours, choose a chair that supports the “S” shape of your spine. This is to avoid bad posture. Make sure that the height of the chair you will be using can be adjusted. Features of ergonomic chairs vary depending on the chair that you choose. It may be worth considering an assessment with one of our team before investing in one.
When adjusting the height of the chair to be level with a desk, some people may find that their feet do not reach the floor. This is why footrests are so important. A foot that is hanging and not positioned well can cause fatigue and poor posture. To avoid this, we recommend a range of footrests all viewable here!
There are variety of wrist supports designed to protect your upper limbs while typing. These are not worn but are placed below the keyboard, so your wrists are level the keyboard. Using wrist supports can ensure that your wrists don’t become strained. You can choose the texture or shape of your wrist support. Make sure that the item is firm enough, offering you the correct support and you feel comfortable resting your wrists on them. Our team can recommend an item based on any conditions that you are suffering with.
1. Setting up your chair
- Sit on your chair as far back as possible. There must be a three-finger gap between the edge of the seat and your knees.
- While seated, adjust the armrest in a comfortable position. The armrest must be supporting your forearm. Make sure that your arms do not feel pushed up.
- Move your chair closer to your workstation.
- Use the lever to adjust the height of your chair so the armrest is at the same level as your desk.
- Your feet should be touching the floor. If not, then consider a footrest.
- You can lock or unlock the back of your chair. Depending on your needs, you can recline on your chair so you can easily relax.
2. Setting up the laptop
- Find a laptop stand or mount that keeps the screen in line with your eye level.
- Mount your laptop.
- Adjust the screen so it would be perpendicular to your desk.
- The height of the screen must be at your eye level.
Remember: for this setup, you will need an external mouse and keyboard. You will be using your laptop only as a screen.
3. Setting up the monitor(s)
- Place your monitor at an arm’s length from your body and directly in front of you.
- If you are using two monitors, start to consider how you are using them.
- The main monitor must be placed directly in front of you and the second monitor on the side.
- If you are using the monitors equally, then you need to line up the monitor, so you are in the middle of the two. Make sure the distance of both monitors is still an arm’s length so you can read the text on either of the screens.
- Make sure that your eye level is at the top of the screen(s).
4. Setting up your keyboard and mouse
- Bring your mouse closer towards you.
- Where your hands land, when you place them on the table, is where your keyboard must be.
- The mouse should be placed beside the keyboard.
5. Setting up your phone
- Place the phone on your non-writing side.
- Make sure you do not have to reach the phone if you need to answer it.
- If you are on your phone most of the time, use a headphone.
Benefits of an ergonomic workstation
An ergonomic workstation does not disregard the equipment or tools you or your employees are using. Instead, they are set up to make a working environment as comfortable as possible and the possibility of injuries is massively reduced. Our team can make ergonomic recommendations to suit a range of environments including offices and homeworking stations.
There is a certain cost that comes when employees suffer from illness at work. Aside from the associated cost with delays in projects there is also the consideration of sick pay. There may be costs in implementing an ergonomic workstation, but it is still much cheaper than when employees are consistently absent or unproductive because they are not comfortable in the workplace.
When starting to invest in an ergonomic workplace, there are some initial items that you might want to change like the chairs. There is also training for Occupational Health and Safety that you might want to undergo to make sure that you are investing money in the most important areas. Applying the concept of ergonomics in the workplace for the first time can sometimes be challenging but that does not mean it cannot be done. Once the workplace, whether in the office or at home is set up, then that is a long-time, cost saving investment for your business.
When employees become comfortable and confident in their working environment, lost workdays and incident reports will be reduced, further saving the company money.
When the body is comfortable, the mind can think better. Ergonomic workstations reduce health risks, including back pain and other body pain. The position of the body feels more natural. Employees tend to be more focused when they are comfortable. Employees will not be suffering from injuries caused by furniture that does not support proper posture and will therefore take less time off work.
Employees want to feel they are being taken care of. They want their employers to hear them out. They want a workspace where they can be comfortable while delivering what is expected of them. All these can only be met when hazards that can cause them pain and discomfort are being eliminated. When there are no obstacles to cause pain or discomfort in their working environment, like a chair that is not comfortable or a monitor that would cause them to slouch, employees will be more productive.
There are so many factors that can lead to a quality result or output. It all boils down to comfort. Employees want to be comfortable in their workplace so they can maximize their potential. The less fatigued employees are the better the quality of their work. When the quality of work is better, you can be assured of repeat business from customers.
When employees are fatigued, work becomes slow, yet the output is rushed. Employees may not have the energy to create a project that is not well thought of. That is why, investing in equipment that will provide comfort to employees is important. You will boost their productivity and in turn, this will result in work of a higher standard.
Improves employee engagement
One of the biggest losses of a company is employee turnover. When employees are not comfortable in their workplace they may consider leaving. If they do not leave, they could be absent much of the time because they are tired or in pain. When employees are not comfortable, they are stressed out and may not contribute as much during meetings.
An ergonomic workplace creates an environment where employees are not stressed and feel invested in.
Creates a better safety culture
An ergonomic workplace has workstations that are comfortable and less hazardous. Investing in the right ergonomic furniture is an investment in your team and your business. Having an ergonomic workstation prevents employees from accumulating muscle fatigue which could have major consequences in the long run.
An ergonomic workstation assures your employees that they are working in a safe environment. This will reduce their worry of having accidents. It is not just your employees that are office based who should feel safe. Even for those who are working at home, you want to have a workstation that does not feel cramped. A workstation that you can comfortably work from.
Other Tips on creating a comfortable work environment
Bring in some plants
Plants are a breath of fresh air and can bring a calmness among people.
When having a plant on your work desk, make sure to check the pot. For example, when watering the plants, water can overflow and damage your electronics. Be sure to be careful when watering the plants to avoid this kind of accident. You can choose low-maintenance plants as well. Something you need not tend to every day.
Create a comfortable workspace
An ergonomic workstation has numerous benefits. If you work in an office, you can suggest it to your employers and if you work from home, you can use some of our tips above to make your environment comfortable. It will greatly help you.
A comfortable workspace should be a space where everybody feels safe and comfortable working. Employees understand their roles and responsibilities and conflict can be managed.
Facilitate opportunities for learning
Technology and all other learnings are evolving day by day. Employees should be able to keep up. To improve and become a better version of yourself, you must keep learning. Employees must be encouraged to do this. This is the only way they will be able to keep up with the fast-changing world.
Listen to everyone’s ideas
In a workplace where everyone has ideas, it is better to hear them out. When employees are heard they feel more confident. They know that they have a place in the company. They can be more creative and innovative.
Employees that are encouraged to contribute to the company have a low tendency to leave because they know they are valued. They know that they are being appreciated.
Whether working in the office or at home, having a comfortable workstation is something that we all need.
Having a comfortable environment brings the best out in us. With ergonomic workstations, people no longer need to suffer from the long-term effect of having to sit for hours uncomfortably. There is no unnecessary pain in areas of the body that are frequently used so movement is easier and visiting the doctor can be easily avoided. This simple concept of an ergonomic workstation can change lives and improve a business’ outcomes.
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If you have an ergonomics question or would like to book a FREE consultation with one of our experts email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.