When moving to a new office location, there are many factors to consider – location, building size, and cost, just to name a few. Once the initial logistics are taken care of, it’s important to consider how your employees will be working in their new work space.
Your employees spend long hours in their work space and investing in an ergonomically-correct environment will not only improve employee productivity and comfort, but also reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury, decrease absenteeism, and impact the company’s bottom line.
How to Set Up Your New Office to Be Ergonomically Correct
One of the keys to creating an ergonomically correct office is to set-up a work space that keeps employees in their most natural position (or as it is referred to in ergonomics, neutral position). When an employee works in their most neutral position, there is the least amount of strain and overexertion placed on the musculoskeletal system. It’s this strain and overexertion that can lead to injury.
Office Chair Height
In order to create the most ergonomically correct work space, it’s important that office chairs be fully adjustable. Since not all people are built the same, not all chair positions work for everyone. Having a chair that can be raised/lowered, seat-tilted, and arms adjusted is important for creating a neutral position when seated.
Positioning your chair to achieve a neutral position can be done in three easy steps.
- Raise your chair so your arms are positioned correctly on your desk. To do this, close your eyes and place your hands on your belly button. Slowly move them out to create a 90-degree angle in your elbow. Then open your eyes. Your hands should be hovering slightly over your desk/keyboard.
- If your hands are too low, then raise your seat. If your hands are too high, then lower your seat.
- If your feet cannot be placed flat on the floor when your chair is at the appropriate height, you need to place a foot rest under your feet.
When setting up your desk space, the one rule to remember is to position everything within arms reach of your chair. Injuries occur when employees overexert to reach something or find themselves in awkward positions for too long. Keeping everything within arms reach is the best way to reduce the risk of injury from straining, over-stretching, or poor posture.
How to Set Up an Ergonomically Correct Workstation
Failure to properly adjust the technology devices on your desk is just as important to maintaining a neutral working position to ensure your chair and desk are at the correct positions.
In order to avoid holding your neck in an awkward position, it is important that your monitor is at eye-level. When your monitor is positioned too low, you risk straining your neck by looking down. When your monitor is too high, similarly, you risk straining your neck by looking up.
Neutral head position has your chin parallel to the floor. If when looking at your monitor, your chin is either tucked closer to your neck or pulling away from your neck, you need to adjust your monitor height.
As discussed above, it is important that both monitors be positioned at the appropriate eye-level height to avoid strain on your neck. Position the two monitors next to each other, touching on the sides. Where the two screens touch should be in line with your nose so you can easily look at both screens with minimal movement of your neck. It is important that the monitors be at the same height, so you are simply moving your head slightly to switch screens but not moving your chin away from parallel.
Additionally, if you find that you use one monitor more than the other, positioning that monitor so it is square with your shoulders will prevent craning your neck between a monitor you use often and one you do not use much at all.
Keyboard & Mouse
Your keyboard should be positioned directly in front of the monitor you are looking at when typing. This prevents you from straining your neck or back to twist and see the computer screen.
The most ergonomically correct position when typing is to have your hands float above the keyboard. This prevents you from anchoring your wrists to the edge of the keyboard which can cause strain and eventually lead to carpel tunnel syndrome.
Similarly, when using your mouse, it is important not to anchor your wrist to the desk. Hovering and lightly touching the mouse to make it move is the best way to avoid muscle strain.
When moving to a new office, creating an ergonomically correct work environment allows for maximum comfort of your employees and a reduced risk of musculoskeletal injuries. If you need assistance in setting up your work environment or you are looking for data on the best ergonomically correct furniture to purchase for your workforce in their new space, contact us.