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Ergonomics–The Basics

ergonomics

A field of research called ergonomics has long been associated with the idea of providing tips on how to make the working environment conducive for the human body which has to survive long working hours and stress. The majority of research has gone into the way desk job working conditions can be modified to prevent common complaints such as headaches, tendinitis of the wrist or arm, Sciatica, shoulder pain and lower back pain.

Whether you are working in an office or are location independent, ergonomics are crucial to not only your health but also your productivity and performance. These quick tips will give you a foundation to build on for complete workplace wellness.

Desk

  1. Wrist level: Your desk or keyboard should not be above or below your wrist level, so when working your wrists should be in line with your arm. This reduces wrist pain and the likelihood of developing of tendinitis.

  2. Arm level: Your arms need to be at a 90 degree angle, and should not be tense while working. Your elbows should be flexed at this particular angle to ensure your arms are in line with your desk. For this purpose, it’s a good idea to make sure your desk level is altered to suit your needs.

  3. Shoulder posture: Your shoulders should be relaxed (don’t shrug or raise them.) 

Chair

  1. Arm rests: Arm rests provide much-needed support and if built at the proper height, can ensure that your elbows remain flexed at 90 degrees to avoid unnecessary strain on your arms. Similarly, the height of the arm rests and the desk or keyboard should preferably be the same.

  2. Adjustable height: Make sure you find a chair which has an adjustable height to adapt to whatever desk you may find yourself using. An adjustable chair gives you the flexibility to alter your work environment according to your needs.

  3. Chair cushioning: It is absolutely essential that your chair has a good cushion support for your back to prevent back injuries. A chair with no cushioning puts you at risk of hurting your back and can cause acute pains in the shoulders.

  4. Feet level/hip level: Another aspect to keep in mind is your foot level when you sit on the chair. Make sure your feet our absolutely flat on the floor, and your hips are at the same level as your knees (your knees shouldn’t be raised above your legs or sag below them.)

Computer

  1. Screen glare: When working for long hours, reduce the glare of your computer screen. This glare can harm your eyes and cause recurrent headaches. Keep the glare to a bare minimum level of comfortable visibility and rely on external lighting to work online.

  2. Monitor-nose level: Make sure the center of the monitor is at your nose level to reduce stress on your eyes and neck. You don’t want to be craning your neck up or down to make out the screen.

  3. Take breaks: When working on a computer, take regular breaks after every 45 minutes of work, to give your eyes adequate rest. Use this time to take a break from your workstation and stretch out as well.

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