The 5 Step Guide to an Ergonomic Working Environment

What’s the most important thing to you in your workplace? Is it that you are stimulated and have enough variety in the work that you do? Perhaps getting constructive feedback is important to you, and for other people, having an employer who cares about their wellbeing is important. What about the ergonomic working environment?

Whatever it is that’s vital to you at work, there’s one thing that is important for everyone – no matter what they do – and that’s ergonomics. Ergonomics is defined as all aspects of a job, and relates to the stress that your work can place on your joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, bones, through to a range of environmental factors which can affect hearing, vision, and general comfort and health.

We all spend a large portion of our day at work, and it’s important that when we’re sitting at a desk or performing a task for eight to ten hours a day that we maintain a good posture or working position; basically that we have an ergonomic working environment. It’s not just posture that’s important for a healthy workplace though, because we also need plenty of natural light and other positive working conditions to keep working productively and efficiently.

Let’s take a look at the top five things that can combine to create an ergonomic working environment.

1. Posture or working position

If you work in an office, chances are that you suffer from or have suffered from sore shoulders or a sore back at some point or another. Sitting in the same position with shoulders hunched or poor posture can lead to tightness in the shoulders. The way to get around this kind of problem is with an ergonomic desk option. For example, you can use a kneeling chair or a standing desk. Studies have shown that varying your desk position can be hugely beneficial for employee health. So, if you’re suffering from sore shoulders or a sore back, consider speaking to your HR department. Ask about getting a different desk set up that works for you.

2. Natural light as important for ergonomic working environment

Human beings are living with plenty of natural light. So, when we are in an enclosed space with little or no natural light it can cause problems with depression and health. A simple solution to this problem is installing skylights in the office wherever possible. If skylights simply aren’t possible, consider getting a natural light generator to sit on your desk. It works in much the same way and provides the same sort of health benefits for people.

3. Plenty of breaks

Part of having an ergonomic workplace is ensuring that people take plenty of regulated breaks and that they have enough time for lunch and other short breaks. If people don’t have a mental break from work, it can cause burnout and other issues which affect productivity.

4. Correct computer set up

When you’re working at a desk, you need to have the computer screen, mouse, keyboard and all the heights adjusted to the right height for your body size. You should always adjust your body position to suit your computer, and don’t just assume that how it’s set up is right for you. The angles of your elbows should be 90 degrees relative to the upper arms. On the other side the keyboard should be around 8 cm away from your body. Be sure to perform a thorough ergonomics assessment of your sitting position and keyboard set up.

5. Have everything used frequently in reach

In ergonomics terms, this is referred to as “the zone of frequent reach”. This zone includes anything like staplers, pens, papers, telephones and anything else that you use frequently. In order to avoid stress from over-reaching, you need to ensure you have all of these things in a zone that’s no greater than the usual extension away from you.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan