Knowing that we will spend a lot of time sitting at our desks, it is advisable to invest in good infrastructure that will keep us healthy. Therefore, setting an ergonomic workspace is recommended to stay safe and comfortable in the office. Ensure you have the ideal desk height to enhance your productivity and ability to work for long without any complications. The workspace can at times be unfriendly but it is the responsibility of everyone to make it pleasant for the work we do. Here is how to manage the workspace and make it ergonomically optimized for your use.
Things to Check in your Hardware
Building a custom ergonomic desk is a great step towards making the necessary changes in the workspace. However, there is much more to that to take into consideration:
Invest in a Good Chair
Comfort is vital for any office chair. Make sure that your chair has a comfortable cushion. If you can afford breathable fabric, it is much better. Other things to consider include armrests that are sufficiently low to keep your shoulders in a relaxed position and your elbow ends at almost 90 degrees. An adjustable seat height and backrest height are also important considerations to make. These adjustments will leave your thighs parallel to the floor, feet flat and maintain an upward posture.
A good chair may also need lumbar support to make sure that your chair is not directly vertical. It should have an allowance to support your lower back by extending forward. More benefits can come with a chair that can roll around and/or swivel. It will help you reach for things you may need on your desk without straining a lot.
Adapting the Desk to Work for You
Make your keyboard and mouse close together and center the alphanumeric section of the keyboard on the desk. Focus on the keys and not on the keyboard – it doesn’t have to be at the center because most keyboards are asymmetrical. Take note of key “B” and use it to align your keyboard on the desk. A keyboard tray should also carry the mouse on it and not leaving it on the desk. These two items should be at the height where your elbows will stay bent at an almost 90-degree angle to ensure that your wrists are not bent when typing.
The point roughly 2-3 inches down from the top of your computer screen casing should be at eye level. Again, the screen should be within an arm’s length reach while seated. The glare on the screen should be eliminated through strategic lighting placement if your screen can’t tilt. The ideal desk height should be one that will allow you to comfortably reach out to anything you want to use from the top of the desk.
General Workspace Setup
Once everything has been set up, all objects on your desks should be reachable without straining. Again, the top of the desk is only meant for things that you will need to use quite often. Otherwise, other items can be kept inside the drawers. However, a swiveling chair should make it easier for you to reach out to things that you may need to use in your workspace.
Your hardware can be sufficiently “ergonomic” but there is a personal effort to making the entire workspace ergonomic too. Keep in mind your body state in order to get the benefits of working in such an environment. Learn how to maintain a good body posture and stick to that. Don’t slouch but rather sit up at all times where your legs are 100 degrees to your back.
Ensure that your elbows are ever close to the body and your wrists kept straight at all times. They should play nice for you to be able to reach things that you may want to use. The back and your shoulders should always be relaxed and that means not using the armrests when typing.
It is also recommended that you take regular breaks looking away about 20 seconds after every 20 minutes and at times take about a 5-minute break off your screen after 30minutes or 60 minutes before the screen. This will also help you not to strain your eye.
Ergonomically optimizing your workspace is two way: investing in good hardware and infrastructure and at the same time making a personal effort to adhere to good practice while in the work environment. The scope of things to look at includes the chair you sit on, the desk alongside the placement of items on it.