Office ergonomics helps you keep your body and the furniture and gear you work with in harmony. A good ergonomic set-up keeps you comfortable, healthy, and productive. A poor set-up can give you back pain, repetitive strain injuries, and even permanent disability.
So it’s worth taking some time to learn to optimize the ergonomic set-up of your keyboard, mouse, monitor, laptop, and portable computing gadgets. And to pay attention to the lighting, noise, temperature, and other environmental factors that affect your comfort in the office.
Sitting disease – arguably the biggest health concern that you face at your desk – is a long-term problem that can take decades to show up. The discomfort, pain, and injury that result from a poor ergonomic set-up can appear much faster.
Balancing Productivity, Comfort, and Safety
Whether you’re sitting down, standing up, or walking at your desk, you want to be comfortable and productive and safe from injury. Just as athletes prevent injuries and perform best with the right gear, the right office equipment set up in the right way can prevent pain and support you in your work.
Take Charge of Your Ergonomic Personal Set-Up
Many, if not most, employers offer at least some ergonomics training and support. But when it comes to real-life, day-to-day, personal ergonomic practice, you are likely on your own.
Even if you work in an organization that offers good ergonomic support, the typical office ergonomics intervention is a one-time event — part of the ritual of accepting a new job, moving to a new office, or getting a new desk. You may get some assistance if your doctor prescribes it and if you push the bureaucracy. You might get a special chair or a standing desk or an “ergonomic” keyboard. If you are lucky enough to work in an organization with good resources, the “ergonomics person” might also recommend a gadget or two and give you some training on how to set up your workstation.
And typically that is that. As soon as the expert leaves, you are on your own.
You use your office equipment all day, every day. So it makes sense to pay ongoing attention to it. Because most offices offer no ongoing ergonomic evaluation process, it behooves you to understand some basic ergonomic principles and how to apply them at your desk, day-to-day, hour-to-hour.