So, you’ve finally decided to get with the 21st century and set up an ergonomic office! You might only have a few dozen questions or so on how to do it, why go to all that expense and where to go, etc, etc, etc!
Some great questions, because setting up an ergonomic office can not only be confusing, but expensive, so do it right the first time, not guessing about how to go about it and spending far too much on the wrong products!
I googled ergonomics, and I came across a particular ‘ergonomic’ e-tailer who was passing a chair like this one off as an ergonomic chair! Now, don’t get me wrong, this might be a perfectly great chair, but an ergonomic office chair?…. Not a chance!
So then you start looking around, and discounting the chairs which likely are not ergonomic office chairs, you start to see the price tags and the coughing, hacking and spasming starts!
After you wake up, drag yourself up onto your chair and sip some water…. let me explain to you just why it makes economic sense to set your employees up with as good of ergonomic office chairs and accessories as you can….
A recent study shows that the average employee, when outfitted properly with a sensible ergonomic office, chair, accessories and everything, is going to be 10-15% more productive.
Imagine that, figure if that employee is paid 40K a year, and gets even 5 % more productive…… (does math in head….. grrrr, not coming….. )…. carry the two…. ohhh forget it (grabs calculator)…. That’s 2000 more a year in productivity!
So figure, if a chair costs $800, keyboard tray, monitor arm, footrest and light another $600 or so…. (grabs calculator again…)… that setup pays for itself in 8 months! Or 4 months if you go with the 10 percent!
Quite simply, putting together an ergonomic office makes great business sense!
So how to do it? Well, you don’t have to take my word on it, you can look at Cornell University’s ergonomic website and see what they recommend. In short, however, a good chair, monitor arm, keyboard tray, footrest and task light. I’ll recommend the Freedom Chair as a great high-quality ergonomic office chair, and Humanscale’s keyboard tray, monitor arm and footrests are very good and quality pieces as well.
So, who to buy from?
Find someone who knows what the heck they’re talking about!
If their idea of an ergonomic office chair is like the one about…. ummm not likely a great place to shop!
Of course I recommend SitBetter.com, but heck, I’m biased!
Went to an ergonomic seminar this past Friday. The speaker was Professional Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics program at Cornell University. It was amazing all the information he was able to give in the space of two hours!
Let’s see, where can I start….
Offices are chaotic!
Think about it, how is your desk laid out? Are all of your most-used items right there where you can access them quickly and easily?
Starting with your keyboard tray, is it right in front of you, down close to your legs where you don’t have to raise your arms to the level of the desk? If you’re doing the latter, you’re putting strain on your upper arms, shoulders and back. Center the keyboard on the ‘H’ key, not on the center of the keyboard.
Where is your mouse, down with the keyboard, level with it?
With both the keyboard and mouse, try to put them both at a 15 degree negative slope (that’s sloping away from the body). That’s going to put the wrist at the optimal position to reduce strain on the wrist’s metacarpal area.
How about your monitor? Are you finding yourself leaning forward simply to see what’s on the screen? A good rule of thumb is to extend your arm, the fingers pointing to a spot right in front of your eyes, the monitor should be touching about 2 inches down right in the middle. Tilt the monitor slightly away from you. To keep the eye’s from focusing too much in one spot, make sure that every 20 minutes you look away from the monitor for 20 seconds at a spot at least 20 feet away.
Keep in mind the area around you ought to be just how your car is set up. The modern car is set up far more ergonomically than most modern offices. Think about it, your steering wheel is right there where it’s an easy reach, all the knobs and levers are easily reached, the dashboard is right below the window, easily glanced at so your attention is not distracted from the road too much. Get your office set-up the same way, so you can easily focus on the task at hand and you’re not straining much on reaching nor sitting in awkward positions.
Make the area flexible, changeable by the user, this provides an environment the worker feels they can adapt it better to make it more comfortable for themselves. They might not take advantage of this adaptability, but psychologically, they will feel far more secure and at ease knowing they can do so.
This is only a small portion of what was discussed on Friday, and I’ll go over more in more blogs, all of it was interesting and informative.