The word ergonomics is derived from the Greek words “ergo” and “nomos," which, if translated, mean the laws of work.
Ergonomics is a branch of science concerned with designing a workplace environment that promotes the health and comfort of employees. Enhanced ergonomics can also further boost workplace efficiency and individual productivity.
A desk job can take a serious toll on an employee's health in the long term. Thus, understanding the ergonomic principles is key—knowing how to maintain a spinal posture to avoid backache and minimize strain on the eyes from working on a screen all day are just a few factors that should be kept in mind while choosing office tech and furniture.
10 Ergonomic Principles That Could Change the Way You Work
Work at a proper height
To maintain optimum posture, working at the correct height is very important.
Ideally, you would want your work to be placed at elbow height, regardless of whether you sit or stand.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Heavier work may be performed best at a lower than elbow height, while precision work demanding attention to detail needs to be done visually closer.
Work in neutral postures
Here are a few points to keep in mind that will help you achieve a balanced and neutral posture during work:
- Choose a chair with good lumbar support to maintain your spine's natural "S" curve. This will help eliminate any potential risk of back problems from straining your back during work.
- The neck is an important part of your spinal column so avoid bending or craning your neck for long periods.
- The neutral position for your elbows is by your sides; make sure your shoulders are not hunched.
If you’re looking to invest in an ergonomic screen for your work setup, the Geminos monitor provides an optimal design based on height and working position and is especially helpful for keeping your neck in a neutral posture. Geminos is infinitely adjustable—unlike other dual desktop monitors that force you to strain your muscles all day.
Keep all items within reach
This simple concept can greatly increase your work productivity. Organize your workstation so your daily use items are always within reach. You might even set up a flow on your desk, keeping the most used items nearer while keeping the lesser used ones further away.
Reduce excessive force
This principle usually doesn't affect corporate workers much, but if the nature of your work involves lifting heavy objects, this can also negatively affect your physical health in the long term.
You can take a few steps to minimize excessive force on your muscles:
- The first one is obvious (but often neglected). It's crucial to train your muscles in the gym so that you can get better at safely lifting loads.
- Invest in trolleys or wheels where possible to slide heavy-weighted objects across the floor instead of having to carry them.
- Never arch your back to a heavy object; always squat down first, maintain a firm grip on the object and then lift.
Asking for help from a colleague is also a great way to avoid lifting excessive amounts of weight on your own!
Minimize fatigue/static load
Static load implies maintaining the same position for long hours, which can eventually cause your muscles to fatigue.
A good example of this that we can all resonate with is the hand or wrist cramps we can face when writing for a long period of time; even though the weight of a pencil/pen is negligible, maintaining that same posture for hours can tire your muscles out!
If your work involves this risk factor, it’s good practice to take small breaks in between and practice some basic stretches.
Minimize pressure points
Pressure points occur anytime our bodies come in contact with a hard surface. Contact stress like this can include anything from an office worker’s forearms leaning against the hard edge of a desk while typing to a mechanic’s hands in constant contact with a power tool.
Luckily, this can be easily counteracted by adding cushioning and protective equipment. For example, chair cushioning, footrests, gloves, and kneepads are all effective ways to reduce contact stress and minimize pressure points while you work.
Give yourself clearance
Working in a cramped space can eventually take its toll on the workers' mental and physical health. We all need sufficient space and privacy to work as efficiently as possible.
For example, your sitting workstation should allow you enough room to comfortably fit your legs underneath the desk and efficiently work on the tabletop area.
Maintain a comfortable workspace
There are many aspects to designing a comfortable work environment—lighting and sounds are two crucial components. Lighting needs to be optimum and balanced with natural and artificial lighting. Glare should be well controlled by the positioning of any equipment being used.
Also, investing in soundproofing for meetings or conference rooms is always a good idea to keep distractions at bay. If possible, the work environment should also include a comfortable temperature as well. Of course, we all work more efficiently in a beautiful space too.
Stretch and move when you can
Working a 9 to 5 desk job can seriously affect your physical health! When you work an office job, it’s easy to get accustomed to a sedentary workday; however, it’s essential to get up and move while you work.
Whether stretching during work, a short walk or yoga during your break, or making time for gym after office hours, it is necessary to make movement a daily part of your routine.
Learn more about how Mobile Pixels can make working more comfortable, productive, and efficient.