How to Set Up an Ergonomically Correct Work Area

March 01 2023
ergonomically correct

 

Stiff wrists. Tingling fingers. Eye strain. A persistent ache in your neck and shoulder areas. A sore lower back.

Working at a desk on a computer can do a number on your body. Especially if you’re putting in a lot of hours each day performing repetitive actions in the same place—like typing on a laptop or using a mouse. 

Repeat work actions can increase your chances of suffering a repetitive strain injury, or RSI. RSI injuries occur from excessive  use of specific muscles, tendons or nerves, and can manifest themselves in many ways. A simmering, burning sensation in your wrists when you type, weakness when you raise your upper arms, cramping in your legs, numb fingers. 

RSI injuries can be debilitating and may require a long recovery time of reduced usage of the affected area, to be free of symptoms. This can impact your work productivity and performance significantly.

One way to avoid RSI injuries? Set yourself up in an ergonomically correct work area. Not only does this help you maintain good posture, it can reduce the risk of physical strain, injury and discomfort while working. 

 

 

A happy employee at an ergonomically correct desk.
An ergonomically correct work area will boost your health, happiness and productivity at work.

 

 

Benefits of an Ergonomically Correct Work Area

 

 

Reduced physical strain and discomfort

 

 

One of the most significant benefits of an ergonomically correct workspace is that it reduces physical strain and discomfort. Poor posture, inadequate lighting, and improper placement of equipment can cause discomfort and pain, and may even lead to long-term health problems. 

An ergonomic workspace design considers several factors: 

  • The height of your chair – like the three little bears, you want it not too high, and not too low, but just right.
  • How you position your keyboard and mouse. If you’re using an attached mouse, be mindful of ‘mouse shoulder,’ which can occur when you move it in tight circular motions all day.  
  • The angle and position of the monitor. Ideally, you’ll have the monitor directly in front of you, at about arm’s length away. If your monitor is off-centered, you’ll run the risk of neck strain from turning to look at it.
  • Where you position your feet. Keep them flat and centered in front of you, and resist the temptation to tuck one foot under your leg on your chair. 

 

Improved posture

 

 

Good posture is essential for maintaining good health. When you sit in a comfortable, ergonomic position, you are less likely to hunch over your keyboard or slouch in your chair. 

This can help to limit the risk of back, neck, and shoulder pain, which can impact your work (and make you miserable.)

A quality chair can help here, for sure. But so too can making sure your feet are planted well on the ground in front of you, your arms are supported, and you aren’t angling your wrists at an awkward raised angle to clack away on your keys.

 

 

Increased productivity

 

 

An ergonomic workspace can also increase your productivity. When you are sitting in a comfortable and supportive position, you are more likely to be able to concentrate and be productive. 

You can get into a state of flow, when time slips away while you’re working due to deep focus on the task at hand.

You will also less likely need to step away from your work area too often. While it’s smart to take breaks to stretch or relieve discomfort, if you’re not comfortable in your setting, your mind won’t be fully engaged with your work. 

 

 

Reduced risk of injury

 

 

When you are sitting in a comfortable and supportive position, you are less likely to experience repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow. 

You are also less likely to suffer from back, neck, or shoulder pain, which can be caused by poor posture or sitting in an uncomfortable position for long periods of time.

 

 

Better eye health

 

 

When you are sitting in a comfortable and supportive position, you are less likely to experience repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow. 

You are also less likely to suffer from back, neck, or shoulder pain, which can be caused by poor posture or sitting in an uncomfortable position for long periods of time.

 

 

Setting Up Your Work Area for Ergonomic Success

 

 

The good news is it doesn’t take too much time or money to set up your workstation for ergonomic benefits. Take a few hours to make these changes to your space.

  1. Desk height: The height of your desk should allow you to sit with your arms at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. If your desk is too high, use a footrest to elevate your feet. If your desk is too low, consider using a desk riser or a thicker chair cushion to raise your sitting height.
  2. Chair: A good chair is key to a comfortable and healthy work environment. Choose a chair with adjustable height and tilt, lumbar support, and armrests that can be adjusted to suit your body. Make sure the chair is positioned at the correct height and is comfortable to sit in for long periods of time.
  3. Monitor placement: Place your monitor directly in front of you at a comfortable distance, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level to prevent neck strain. If you use multiple monitors, place them in a way that reduces glare and reflection.
  4. Keyboard and mouse: The keyboard and mouse should be positioned within easy reach and at the same height to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Consider using a wrist rest to support your hands while typing.
  5. Lighting: Good lighting is essential for reducing eye strain. Position your desk near a window to take advantage of natural light, but be mindful of glare. Supplement your lighting with an adjustable side light or desk lamp, particularly if you work in a dimly lit area or at night.
  6. Footrest: If your feet do not touch the floor while sitting at your desk, use a footrest to reduce strain on your legs and back. A footrest should be adjustable to allow you to find a comfortable position.
  7. Phone: If you use your phone frequently, position it within easy reach to reduce strain on your neck and arms. Consider using a headset to avoid holding the phone to your ear for long periods of time.
  8. Exercise equipment: Keep handy a few easy exercise tools, like a squeezable stress ball, resistance bands and a yoga mat. Take some time to do some easy reps during the day—the increased blood flow will boost your creative juices and improve your mood, too. Regular breaks to stretch and move your body are essential for reducing physical strain and improving posture. Stand up, stretch your legs, and walk around every hour to refresh your body and mind.

At the end of the day, your work productivity is directly connected to the comfort of your work area. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments to your work spaces as needed so it can meet your needs, and you can crush your goals.

Latest Posts

21 December 2023
| Clearwater Health

How Changing Your Insurance Plan Can Save You Money Without Sacrificing Your Way of Life

major medical insurance plans
12 December 2023
| Clearwater Health

Major Medical Insurance Plans From Clearwater Health Unveiled

realtor health insurance
01 August 2023
| Clearwater Health

Clearwater Member Testimonial: Joe Sinnona

healthcare coverage for self employed
16 July 2023
| Clearwater Health

Why Choose Clearwater Benefits?

mail-icon

Subscribe To
Receive The Latest News

Similar Posts

29 November 2022
| Written by Clearwater Health

How to Pick an Insurance Plan that Works for Your Family

No two families are exactly alike. Here's how to pick a health insurance plan that fits. ...

11 June 2023
| Written by Clearwater Health

Smart Habits for Promoting Brain Health

Played Any Brain Games Lately? Here Are Smart Habits for Promoting Brain Health The brain ...

24 May 2023
| Written by Clearwater Health

How to Submit a ClearShare Medical Need Request

So You've Enrolled in one of the ClearShare Healthcare Plans. Congratulations! Now you ...