Crafting the Ultimate Ergonomic Workstation in 2024
Whether you work from home or at an office, your workspace is one of the most crucial aspects of your work life. A disorganized and cluttered setup would only lead to issues in your productivity—even your well-being.
Ideally, your workplace should fit your tasks, including your physical traits and personality. In other words, you need an ergonomic workstation tailored to your person and work description.
There are plenty of benefits to an ergonomic workspace. So, let’s talk about how to set up your work environment and make it more ergonomic to support you best.
Understanding Office Ergonomics
It’s a well-documented fact that a carefully designed environment makes work less stressful. Most industry experts agree that an ergonomic office design makes employees more creative and efficient.
But what is ergonomics in the first place?
It might sound fancy, but ergonomics simply means arranging the workplace to fit the workers. The goal is to remove discomfort, promote good posture, and prevent unwanted injuries because of a disorganized working environment.
A primary consideration of an ergonomic design is your needs as an individual. In short, how you interact with your space, considering your physical traits and personality, and how to improve that interaction.
Five Steps to Making an Ergonomic Workstation
Follow these five steps and improve your working space at home or in your office:
Step 1: Seat Comfort
A comfortable seat is a must in jobs involving long hours of sitting. The position adds stress to the spine, so it’s essential to pick a chair suitable to your height to support your lower back and maintain a good posture.
- Push your hips as far back as possible and see if the backrest cushions your lower and mid back or adjust accordingly.
- Your feet should be able to lie flat on the floor with your thighs equal to or slightly lower than your hips.
- If your chair has armrests, position them so your arms can sit gently with your elbows close to your body.
An ergonomic chair should support the natural curves of your body. It shouldn’t exert stress on your mid and lower back.
Step 2: Desk Height
The ideal desk shouldn’t hinder your movements. For instance, if you’re typing on your keyboard, your wrists and arms should be able to remain parallel to the floor—not too high or low to cause strain.
Most desks are around 28 to 30 inches tall, which works well for people between 5’8” and 5’10” tall. However, this desk height can pose issues to taller or shorter individuals.
There are plenty of ways to remedy this, though.
If the desk is too high, you can sit in a taller chair with a footrest or install a keyboard tray underneath. If it’s lower than you want, you can place blocks under its legs to hold it higher.
Keep the under of your desk clean as well. Avoid storing anything under your work desk for more legroom and reduce the risk of accidents.
Step 3: Keyboard and Mouse
Your keyboard and mouse positioning is another vital factor you should consider. Proper placement of these devices will help reduce fatigue on your fingers, wrists, and arms.
- Keep your keyboard close and in front of your body to work without reaching, and keep your wrists and arms neutral.
- Identify which portion of the keyboard you’re using frequently and reposition it to your body’s center.
- Depending on your preference, you can keep your keyboard flat or slightly tilted frontward for better finger movements.
- As for the mouse, keep it as close to your keyboard and on the same surface.
- Choose a mouse that fits your hand and is comfortable to hold for better movement and maneuvering.
Here’s an excellent habit to practice:
While using your keyboard and mouse, keep your wrist straight with your arms close to your body. While typing, your hands should remain equal or slightly lower to your elbows.
Step 4: Screen Position
Incorrect screen positioning leads to plenty of adverse effects. If you’re experiencing headaches, eye irritation, and blurred vision, your monitor placement could be the issue.
- Place your monitor in front of your body and above your keyboard, ensuring a good screen view without adjusting your body or neck.
- Keep the display equal or slightly lower than your eye level.
- If you’re wearing prescription eyeglasses, the ideal screen height is 1 to 2 inches below your eyes for comfortable reading.
- Don’t put the screen too close or far to avoid straining your eyes.
- The ideal viewing distance for a computer monitor is around 20 to 40 inches from your head or about an arm’s length.
Moreover, consider the size of your screen when deciding its placement. The larger your screen, the farther it should be from you.
Step 5: Lighting Quality
Like furniture placement, good lighting can enhance efficiency, relieve stress, increase comfort, and boost your focus. It also minimizes accident risks in your office.
Natural lighting is especially advantageous for its health benefits. Exposure to natural light sources results in a better mood and general well-being.
Creating an open-space office is an excellent start to maximize natural lighting. Keep your workspace as close to windows as possible with an outdoor view.
Benefits of an Ergonomic Workspace
Here are five benefits of an ergonomic workstation:
A poor workspace setup kills productivity. Anyone who’s worked in an office knows how crucial the environment is for their performance.
So, you’re wondering how to make your home office more ergonomic? Apply the five steps discussed above and enjoy the safer and healthier environment you deserve!