Why your business needs to consider ergonomics for your staff

Being planted on a chair in front of a desk with a computer and keyboard for the standard eight-hour workday can drastically impact our physical wellbeing. It certainly doesn’t help if our work desk and what comes with it, is uncomfortable and causing a lot of pain.

Ergonomics is the design of products and/or processes that takes into account how people will use and interact with them. It’s all about paying attention to the items we physically interact with such as a keyboard, mouse, desk and chairs.

At some point in our careers, we have all experienced sitting in an uncomfortable office chair without great back support that has resulted in trying a number of lower back stretches or even worse, a back injury.

Ergonomically designed office equipment can perhaps help to reduce the pain associated with an existing injury, or reduce the risk of developing a new one. However, choosing ergonomically designed office equipment is unlikely to fix an existing injury, and it’s not a guarantee that any future injury will be prevented.

Here is a useful guide on how to choose the right office products and furniture for your business:

Relieving wrist strain

An ergonomic keyboard should help to align your wrists and fingers to the keys, placing minimal stress on your wrists while typing. This involves searching for a keyboard that comes with a palm or wrist pad and has the alibility to lie flat or tilt. If your keyboard does not have wrist pad, they can be purchased separately.

Split-key keyboards are a great ergonomically designed alternative that are designed to angle your hands and wrists a certain position to avoid applying stress and pressure to your wrists while typing. However, it does take time to get used to.

A mouse can make a difference?

When choosing a mouse, find one that comfortably fits into the contour of your hand. If you use a mouse that is too large or too small, your hand will be forced into unnatural positions which may result in pain.

Similar to keyboards, you want to relieve wrist and palm stress. Ensure that the wheel on the mouse moves freely and that the buttons can be accessed with minimal finger movement.

Using an ergonomic touchpad with a raised wrist support does everything a mouse can but requires less hand movement, which means more comfort.

Back support

With neck and back strain and injuries being extremely common in the workplace, chairs are one of, if not, the most important pieces of furniture at your workstation. When choosing the right office chair, you need to consider the physical requirements of the user, including, height, size and any special considerations.

Good lumbar support is essential for maintaining a good posture and preventing injuries. The chair should be easily adjusted from the seated position and have casters for mobility.

Try not to sit too high, as sitting in a chair that it too high can increase ankle swelling. Another vital thing to consider when sitting in a chair for a long duration is your posture. Take advantage if your chair has great back support and don’t sit on the edge of the chair. Encourage yourself to press your bottom against the back of the chair and avoid slouching.

Desks – Take a stand

Your chair and desk should work together. Ensure that the height of your desk/and or the height of the chair is high enough so that your elbows are bent at 90-degree angle, forearms parallel with the floor and shoulders relaxed.

To avoid strain on your hands and wrist, place all controls and task materials within a comfortable reach of both hands.

A great ergonomic invention and product is the standing desk. There is a growing amount of evidence that standing more and sitting less at work is beneficial for your wellbeing. Choosing a height-adjustable desk/workstation that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing is a great alternative that can reduce sedentariness.

Don’t forget, standing and taking a break from your computer or workstation every 30 minutes is another productive option.

By choosing office equipment that contours to, and helps maintain the best possible alignment of your body, you’ll not only feel better throughout your workday, you might even improve your productivity.

 

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Belinda Lyone
Belinda is the General Manager at COS. COS is Australia's largest privately owned office products supplier, servicing over 5,000 business customers across Australia and offering thousands of products used in today's modern workplace including technology, kitchen and cleaning, furniture, print and promotional items, and office supplies. www.cos.net.au

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