In order to maximize your health and ensure optimum productivity in the office, you must pay attention to factors like workspace ergonomics. In fact, a failure to do so could actually compromise your ability to do your job well over the long run.
Why Ergonomics Matter
Office ergonomics, which is basically the term used to describe the physical setup of a workspace in relation to your health and efficiency, is an extremely important matter that must be taken seriously (both on an individual and corporate level).
According to research published in a recent Washington State Department of Labor and Industries study, benefits of proper workplace ergonomics include:
- Lower costs. Did you know that approximately $1 out of every $3 spent on workers’ compensation costs are associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)? Well, one of the best ways to address this issue is by investing in better economics. Proper ergonomics is associated with a 59 percent reduction in MSDs, 75 percent fewer lost workdays, and a 65 percent incident rate reduction.
- Enhanced productivity. The data shows that ergonomics improves productivity by as much as 25 percent. That’s a significant boost that allows for greater earnings and profitability.
- Greater engagement. Companies that have spaces with proper ergonomics enjoy a 48 percent average reduction in employee turnover. They also boast a 58 percent average reduction in employee absenteeism.
And that’s just the start. The more you invest in proper workspace ergonomics, the more benefits you’ll reap. The goal is to put yourself in a position where you’re able to be most successful.
3 Tips for an Ergo-Friendly Workspace
Understanding the importance of having an ergonomically-friendly workspace is one thing. But in order to enjoy the aforementioned benefits, you must put a plan into action. Here are several steps you can take in the right direction:
- Get Your Workstation Properly Optimized
Start with your workstation – i.e. the place you spend most of your day working. For the majority of people, this is an office desk with a computer. Optimizing this workspace requires you to pay attention to the following:
- Keep your computer monitor roughly at arm’s length. (Anything closer than this could cause eye strain. Anything further may require you to jut out your neck to get a clear view of the screen. (Your eye level should be roughly two inches below the top of the monitor.)
- Elbows should rest at your sides and bend no more than 90 degrees when using the keyboard or mouse.
- Your knees should be level with your hips (or slightly below). Feet rest flat on the ground (or on a footrest if needed).
- Your desk chair should offer lumbar support that allows you to recline at a very slight 100- to 110-degree angle.
When all of these elements are combined, it allows your body to operate efficiently without causing strain. The result is greater productivity and a much lower risk of long-term health MSD issues.
- Invest in a Standing Desk
While there’s nothing technically wrong with using a traditional office chair and desk, it’s not healthy to use this setup for extended periods of time. If you spend more than 15 hours at your desk each week and/or have sedentary periods of two hours or longer at a time, you need a more flexible setup. Thankfully, there are more options than ever.
BTOD.com offers excellent options like kneeling chairs, standing desks, and other ergonomically-friendly options. If you want to see how some of these different products work, check out the BTOD.com Facebook page for pictures, videos, and customer reviews.
- Take Lots of Breaks
Staying in one position for a long stretch of time is unhealthy, regardless of whether you’re standing, sitting, or lying down. That’s why ergonomics professionals often say, “Your next position is your best position.”
In addition to alternating between sitting and standing, we recommend taking lots of breaks. Get out of your office for a few minutes every hour. Even if it’s something simple like walking down the hallway to visit the restroom or water fountain, these little changes in posture lead to better circulation and muscle movement.
Adding it All Up
Transforming your office into an ergonomically-friendly workspace is an absolute must. It’s something that will significantly improve your productivity and efficiency, while simultaneously mitigating health issues and setting you up for success. Now’s the time to put a plan into action!