Ergonomics: Your Workspace
Although, your home is your personal sanctuary, your office is where you spend most of your time. Nearly 60 percent of the workforce will spend their entire working life in an office setting. Having an ergonomically designed workstation that conforms to your specific duties will increase productivity, but more importantly it will minimize repetitive stress injuries.
The two pieces of equipment that can cause you the most damage in your office setting are your phone and your chair. If you spend prolonged periods of time on the telephone it can lead to chronic neck, shoulder and upper back pain disorders. Using proper phone techniques and equipment is key in preventing these problems from developing. Also, choosing the right chair with lumbar back support will lead to a more healthy and productive workspace. We realize that you don't have quite as much control over your workspace as you do your own home. There are, however, some basic guidelines that you should be aware of when organizing your workspace.
- Choose a chair that moves freely in your work area and fits under desks and tables.
- Use lighting that fully lights your entire work area while not reflecting off of monitor screens.
- Make sure your computer and monitor fit on your desk properly so your screen can be read from a comfortable position and computer discs can be inserted with ease.
- Keep items and equipment that you use most frequently within reach from your primary workstation.
- Be certain that you have adequate space to comfortably accomplish all tasks required of you. If you cannot properly function due to lack of adequate space, physical and emotional stress will increase while productivity will decrease.
- Position your telephone in a location that can be easily reached without having to twist, bend or overly stretch.
- Use a shoulder rest extension on your receiver, or better yet, a headset device, if you like to have your hands free when on the telephone.
- Use the speakerphone when possible and in lieu of a headset, which allows for flexibility to work while talking.
- Keep a pen and pad of paper near your telephone so messages can be immediately taken without changing position or straining to grab the appropriate materials.
- Make sure the curve of your chair matches the natural curvature of your spine. Choose a chair that does not have too much padding. An over-padded chair will not provide sufficient lumbar support.
- Make sure your chair rolls easily with little or no strain on your body. Five-spoked models are the safest.
- Make sure your chair provides proper arm support and that armrests do not extend out in front of the chair. Lack of proper arm support increases pressure on the lower back.
- Set the height of your chair so that your thighs make a 90-degree angle with your lower legs, while your feet make a 90-degree angle with the floor.
- Use a footrest if your chair is too high for you.