How often do you come back home and complain about back pain after a long day at work? If the pain is getting worse day after day, the chances are that you lack an ergonomic workstation setup. Several studies have proven that having an ergonomic workstation helps reduce the issues with the lower back and helps enhance your productivity at work.
If you have been meaning to transform your workstation, at home or office, into an ergonomic one, this is the only detailed guide that you need for a comfortable time at work. From the workstation equipment to your regular posture, there are several things that you need to keep a check on.
Table of Content
- Choose the Right Chair
- Ergonomic Desk Setup
- Focus on your Monitor Setup
- Ergonomic Room Setup
- Focus on the Keyboard and Mouse Design
- Move Around the Room
- Focus on Organizing your Workspace
Best Ways to Create an Ergonomic Workstation
Creating an ergonomic and comfortable set up for your work requires you to invest in an ergonomic chair, good quality desks, and even comfortable holding keyboard and mouse that enables you to lay your feet flat on the floor and have a comfortable time typing away at your laptop or desktop at work.
Following are a few things you can do to transform your boring and uncomfortable workstation into an ergonomic setting.
1. Choose the Right Chair
The first step to building an ergonomic workstation setup is to invest in an ergonomic chair. Generally, the chair is the reason behind the bad posture that contributes to the lower back pain and discomfort.
Reports suggest that around 50% of the employees struggle with back pain because of the office chair’s poor seat design. Often, sitting on a chair that doesn’t keep your posture in a neutral position will gradually contribute to discomfort and chronic pain in the long run.
It is common for you to come across several office chairs that are marketed as ergonomic options, but you need to make sure that they live up to the claims they make. Much like how you invest your coins on a good quality mattress to rest your back and elongate your spine, you need an office chair that keeps your posture straight and your feet parallel to the floor.
Consider the following points before investing in an ergonomic office chair in the market.
Height settings – This is crucial. Finding a chair that comes with adjustable height settings helps you manage the level according to the desk height. You want to invest in a chair that ensures that your feet are flat on the ground. There is no point in investing in a chair that makes it harder for you to feel comfortable while sitting on the chair.
Backrest – Another factor worth considering is the backrest tilt and design. Having an ergonomically designed office chair helps stretch your spine and relieves the pain from the lower back. When setting up your workspace, invest in an office chair that can recline easily to reduce the strain on the back.
Lumbar support – The majority of the cheaper office chairs that you come across in the market don’t have a curved alignment to the backrest. Lacking that natural curve to the chair’s backrest puts excess strain and doesn’t provide optimal lumbar support that one needs for a comfortable work experience.
Armrests – While several individuals focus on every other prospect of the chair’s design, the one thing everyone ends up overlooking is the armrests. Adjustable armrests are important. They ensure that your shoulders are relaxed, and you can support your forearm without half of it dangling from the side.
Material – Last on the list of considerations is the material of the chair. Try and invest in breathable materials like PU leather and mesh backrest. These are comfortable, not to mention, they prevent the risks of constant sweating that happens on the back.
2. Ergonomic Desk Setup
Another factor worth considering is the desk setup. If your desk isn’t comfortable and within easy reach, you will have to strain your back and posture to make do with the setting. You need to ensure that the desk is directly in front of the office chair and at an arm’s length away too.
If you are sitting on the office chair with your back and shoulders hunched forward, there are chances that you aren’t sitting comfortably and ergonomically. Always ensure that you make a conscious effort in sitting in an upright position throughout the day.
In case you can’t seem to maintain an upright posture, there are several posture correctors available in the market that you can make the most out of. These help train your back and shoulders and keeps them in a straight position to prevent discomfort.
Another factor worth considering is the desk height. You want the desk to align well with your upright posture. You want to strike a balance so that the office chair aligns with the desk height and won’t make it uncomfortable for you to use the keyboard and mouse on the desk.
Also, keep the desk so that your elbows are at 90-degrees to the desk while you are using the mouse and keyboard. On the desk, place your desktop or laptop in a way that the screen doesn’t end up straining your eyes.
3. Focus on your Monitor Setup
With the ergonomic setup at work, you need to ensure that you focus on the monitor’s position. This is crucial, especially if you want to make sure that your posture is in a neutral position.
A badly placed desktop or laptop on the desk can impact your neck and shoulders and be responsible for chronic pain and discomfort. So, when you are investing in ergonomics, you need to focus on the monitor setup primarily.
Here are a few things you need to consider for the monitor placed on the desk.
Distance – Place the monitor around 20-inches from your eye level. This makes it an optimal setup and prevents straining your eyes. However, ensure that you keep it at an optimal distance, so you don’t have to squint hard or wear bifocals for viewing the display.
Angle – If you place your monitor too low or too high on the desk, it will end up straining your shoulders and neck. Maintaining a 10-20 degree angle is considered ideal and helps you hold your head back at eye level to ensure that it becomes easier for you to work.
Optimal light – Another factor worth considering is the light set around in the room you are sitting in. Ergonomics includes the light settings, too, but not many people focus on the same. You want to ensure that your office has optimal lighting inside the room you are going to work in. This keeps your vision in check and removes the risks of glare inside.
Adjustments – If possible, find a desk or a monitor stand with adjustable settings. This will help you use the ideal position for the monitor according to the needed settings. It is a trial and error process, and once you know what works ideally for you, it will become a lot easier for you to manage things accordingly.
4. Ergonomic Room Setup
Not just the furniture, your workroom or space has to be ergonomically designed. If the room lacks optimal lighting and has a very crowded space, the chances are that you won’t feel comfortable working there. If you think your room needs modifications, do the needful before it gets worse for your health.
Some of the important factors worth considering for an ideal room setup include:
Lighting – If your room doesn’t have enough lighting, experiencing headaches and migraines because of that is pretty common. It is always best to invest in a high-quality table lamp to get rid of the lack of lightning around the desk. You need to find the ideal settings that work for you and then work around the same accordingly.
Airflow – Working in a congested room with little to no ventilation will take a toll on your health. So, instead of just relying on an air conditioner, make sure that you have natural airflow inside the room now and then and needed.
Having an ideal room setup is important if you want to enhance your productivity throughout the office.
5. Focus on the Keyboard and Mouse Design
Aside from the desktop and office furniture, it would help if you prioritized getting an ideal keyboard and mouse. Improper setup of the keyboard and mouse can strain the wrists and fingers, enhancing tendinitis risks, strain injuries, and conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Here’s what you need to focus on:
- The placement of the keyboard tray and the mouse should be in a way that keeps your elbows in a 90-degree position for ideal comfort throughout the day. Try and invest in a keyboard that comes with a separate elevation on the back that tilts the keyboard towards you. It enables a comfortable typing experience and prevents straining your wrists.
- Also, focus on the height at which the keyboard and the mouse are kept. You want it to match with the chair height and seat height to ensure that you don’t have to change your position around the workstation. Sit in a posture where your forearm is parallel to the ground, and your elbows can rest on the desk for more comfort.
6. Move Around the Room
While you can get all the necessary changes done to your furniture set up in the office, nothing will work ideally until you introduce changes to your lifestyle. You must move around the room every hour or two to get the blood circulation going.
If you find your body paining, you can stand up and stretch as much as needed. You can also focus on the 20-8-2 rule wherein you sit and work for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes and then work for 2 minutes. It reduces the strain on the back muscles and helps you recover from the pain you continually experience.
You can also switch to standing desks if you want a change of position and a more comfortable one. However, even with standing desks, you need to find the one that fits your need the best.
7. Focus on Organizing your Workspace
When it comes to setting up a comfortable workspace, you must focus on your organizational skills. If you have everything on your desk, the chances are that you won’t feel comfortable sitting around and working. Try and divide your desk into sections. You can have one that holds your computer and the accessories. This way, you will have enough space to type and work optimally.
You can also have a section on the office desk dedicated to your stationery and one for snacks. Keeping everything organized on the desk helps you achieve a better sense of achievement. It also keeps your productivity in check, which you wouldn’t achieve otherwise.
There is no such thing as a “perfect” workstation. You need to find a workstation that works for you and then make it perfect. Ergonomic workstations help you manage your overall productivity and make it a comfortable experience for you to work through. We always have to work around limitations, even when you are working from your home. And, with ergonomics, you don’t have to introduce the same immediately. You can introduce the changes gradually and ensure everything is within easy reach for a more comfortable user experience.