Tip of the Week: Try an Ergonomic Workstation Setup

January 21, 2015

b2ap3_thumbnail_ergonomic_workplace_400.jpgSometimes you feel exhausted when you get out of work, but you have no idea why. It might be because you’re straining your eyes too much by staring at the computer screen. Or, maybe it’s your back that’s killing you, and even moving slightly is a pain. Perhaps it’s carpal tunnel ravaging the nerves in your wrist. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s safe to say that you could use a workstation overhaul.

Before we delve into the details, here’s a basic overview of how you should be sitting at your desk:

ergo desk

By following these pointers, you’ll be able to lead a healthier and overall more comfortable life while in the office. This, in turn, will increase your productivity levels, allowing you to get more done in the same amount of time. CNet suggests a variety of ways to revamp and improve your workstation ergonomics.

Sit Down, and Take a Load Off Your Feet
You won’t know how to deliver the optimal workstation experience until you find out what your most comfortable sitting position is. Sit down in your chair and relax. You can lean back a bit and even close your eyes (just don’t fall asleep). When your shoulders relax and your hands fall to your lap, you’ll know you hit the sweet spot. Sweet, sweet comfort. Believe it or not, you can work like this all day if you want to.

Keyboard and Mouse Positioning
Begin by picturing your ideal workstation setup in your head. Try sitting down just like you were in the previous step, then attempt to use your keyboard or mouse. Your keyboard shouldn’t be more than two inches above the thighs, and should allow your elbows to fall to your sides during use. If your current desk doesn’t allow for this, you may need a keyboard tray. This minor inconvenience lets you clear off your desk even more by getting all of that clutter off of it.

By the time you’re done getting the right position down, you should notice that your hands are about a shoulders-width apart, and parallel to your thighs. Afterward, it’s all about getting that wrist position down. Using a wrist rest can lead to poor blood circulation and even pinched nerves, resulting in carpal tunnel. To avoid this, arch your wrists slightly, and at all costs avoid laying them flat against the surface. It’s safe to ignore the stands on the bottom of your keyboard, as they don’t offer anything that a better posture doesn’t.

Manage Your Monitors
The next step toward an ergonomic workstation is optimizing your monitor arrangement. When you extend your arm fully, you should only be able to graze the monitor with the tips of your fingers. If you use multiple monitors, they should be set side-by-side at a sight angle. When you pan your arm in an arc, your middle finger should barely graze each screen. In terms of height, your browser search bar should be around eye-level, and you can minimize glare by tilting your screens downward slightly.

Your Workplace Throne
The last part of organizing your ergonomic workspace is choosing whether to get rid of your old chair or keep the one you have. If it’s not offering proper lower back support, you might want to consider an upgrade. However, if it has proper lumbar support, you should be fine. Make sure there’s a bit of space between the back of your legs and the seat of your chair. If your feet are still hanging after your adjustments, pick up a nice comfy footrest to prevent jello-foot syndrome (when your feet go to sleep).

Naturally, people work best under the most comfortable conditions. If discomfort is distracting you or your employees, it can be preventing them from reaching the maximum level of productivity. Do you have any favorite methods to increase comfortability in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.

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