Building Bridges – An Insight Into the Benefits of Ergonomic Design
I was recently at a meeting with a salesperson from a high profile commercial furniture company in Melbourne. During the meeting, she walked me past her desk which was raised to standing height and my curiosity was piqued. She informed me that she used an electric, ergonomic desk which could be raised and lowered as she desired but due to a back problem, she spent most of the day working in a standing position. I loved it.
This got me thinking about the rest of us.
Not so fortunate as to easily avail ourselves of an electric desk, we spend most days working with equipment that either causes or exacerbates painful physical problems. If you are a business with staff, your first port of call should always be an expert in commercial interior design as they understand the unique stresses a desk worker experiences.
After some research I have come up with a few innovations and ideas which will go along way to mitigating some of the health concerns caused by inferior design.
Firstly, let’s address some issues which may be caused by poor workplace design.
- Pain, numbness or stiffness in places like fingers, wrists or back
- Tingling in hands and fingers
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle tightness, discomfort or cramping
- Loss of range of motion – pain when turning your head
- Pain or discomfort when making repetitive movements
Whilst the above list is by no means comprehensive, these are definitely warning signs, especially if you work for long hours in one position.
This leads us to the major areas which are impacting on workers day to day activities and are causing painful and sometime debilitating problems. Let’s take a quick look at a few.
Monitoring your Monitor Height
Nothing will give you a pain in the neck as quickly as a poorly positioned computer monitor.Personally, I have mine on a monitor riser so that my eyes are directly level and my head is not angled to see the screen.
Consider the advantages of connecting your laptop to a large monitor.
Correctly set up, this can allow you to open your laptop, simply plug in your monitor and voila! you are set – able to have two screens going at once if necessary.
The Standing Desk – an uplifting experience
Aside from the aforementioned electric desk, there are also similar, more affordable options of adjustable height or sit/stand desks. The beauty of these desks is that reduce the OHS risks caused by constant sitting in one position.
Still not convinced? Well, there is substantial evidence which proves that these type of desks improve productivity.
Your standard clerical or task chairs are not the only types of seating which have been transformed with ergonomic design. Kneeling chairs and stools provide another option for those who suffer from specific back, leg or neck issues.
So what about fit ball chairs?
Once touted as a revolutionary replacement for the task chair, these balls really do add an air of contemporary fun to an office. Unfortunately for those who love them, Workplace Victoria has declared these as unsuitable for use as an office chair due to user fatigue, lack of back support, risk of falling and lack of movement support.
Whilst the above list touches on the main areas where ergonomic design has been a boon to workers, there have been innovations in many other smaller products such as keyboards, anti-fatigue mats and footrests.
Considering that ergonomic design is said to improve staff productivity, work quality and engagement, can you really afford NOT to invest in it? Call in an expert today to transform your workspaces and give your office the ergonomic tick of approval.