by Kim Schroeder, Certified Office Ergonomics Consultant
At OEX, we believe in promoting best practice to make your workplace as healthy as it can be. One of the best ways to support employee health is by understanding ergonomics and providing the right tools to minimize avoidable health issues.
What is Ergonomics? Ergonomics can be defined as the “science of fitting the task to the worker…” The average office worker sits approximately 10 hours per day. Sitting for a prolonged period of time, generally more than 2 hours at a time, can cause a myriad of issues in our bodies. For example, prolonged sitting can elevate pressure on your spine and cause pain and disc degeneration. So, how can we combat this risk?
In addition to sitting too long, most people have a work space that improperly fits their bodies. By making a few simple adjustments, we can significantly reduce the negative impact associated with office work.
Some risk factors that we face day-to-day at our work space are improper posture, sitting for long periods of time, and repetitive movements.
Improper posture is one of the greatest risk factors for office health concerns. Because of this, the office chair is the most important piece of furniture in the office. It should fit properly (one size does not fit all!) and while sitting at a desk or workstation, feet should always be resting firmly on the ground or on a foot rest. At OEX, we spend a lot of time talking about chairs with our clients – finding the right fit and function is a big decision and it’s not something we take lightly. We provide ‘Test Drive’ chairs before you purchase, functionality demos, and most of our task chairs carry a Lifetime Warranty.
It is recommended that we move every 30 minutes. The Sit/Stand/Stretch method suggests that every 30 minutes, you should sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 and stretch for 2. Technically speaking, standing for at least 2 hours of the work day can burn 340 calories. Now, who wouldn’t want that benefit!!
Shown: Humanscale Quickstand
Using your keyboard or mouse repetitively and improperly can cause strain on your wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Common injuries like carpal tunnel, sprains and strains are often due to this repetition. It is a misconception that using a wrist guard or wrist pillow will help alleviate discomfort. Rather, one of the most important ways of reducing strain is to keep your wrists aligned with your forearms. Articulating keyboard trays and height adjustable desks are tools that allow for customization of the desk height, allowing alignment of the arms parallel to the floor.
To find out more on how to make your work space fit you, give us a call. We can set up a work space evaluation and provide recommendations on a proper ergonomic workstation.