Having a comfortable office for your employees is essential to maintain a happy workplace. 33% of all work-related injuries are musculoskeletal disorders–uncomfortable desk setups and chairs can lead to carpal tunnel or back strain. If employees suffer daily from work-related pains, unproductivity and injury will follow.
What is ergonomics? It’s the act of tailoring workspaces to suit an individual’s needs. Paying attention to office ergonomics will help you keep your employees safe, and will make you a great boss.
By adding comfortable furniture and properly designing desk layouts, you can prevent your employees from becoming fatigued.
Here are 10 tips to make your office more employee-friendly.
1. Maintain Good Posture
Make sure that your work area allows your employee to sit or stand with good posture at their desk or on the ground. Your employees shouldn’t have to stretch or bend at a strange angle to be able to do their job.
Employees that sit in an office should keep their arms and hands straight, and adjacent to the floor. They should keep their head upright, and looking forward–they shouldn’t have to keep turning their head.
Utilizing standing desks can also help to improve productivity–standing desks have proven to have many health benefits. Employees should stand with their backs straight, with their arms parallel to the floor.
2. Quality Chairs and Desks
The ergonomics of an office chair should not be ignored. It’s important to provide your employees with chairs and ergonomic desks that can be adjusted. Adjustable furniture allows your employees to figure out a position that is suited to their needs.
So, what is the best ergonomic office chair? It all depends on your specific needs. Some people even like using an exercise ball office chair.
3. Monitor Placement
You should place monitors so that it lines up with the eye level of the user. A well-positioned monitor does not require your employees to strain their eyes or tilt their neck. The same goes for employees with multiple monitor displays–they shouldn’t have to keep turning their neck either.
4. The Position of Keyboards and Mice
Having an uncomfortable placement of keyboards and mice can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
When employees have to move their wrist in awkward positions their arms are no longer parallel to the floor, ultimately causing pain and fatigue.
You should place keyboards and mice in positions where employees can easily reach them. Employees should be able to adjust the position of these devices to see what feels right. You might have to purchase specific devices that are tailored to certain employees.
Using ergonomic mice can also make your employee feel more comfortable. These mice are designed to reduce strain on your employee’s shoulder, while also keeping their hand in a pleasant position.
5. Change Up Tasks
Employees that are stuck doing the same motions over and over again are at a higher risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders. The repetitive movement can still cause an injury even if an employee has perfect posture.
That’s why employees should be encouraged to do different tasks throughout the day. Briefly swapping to a task that doesn’t require a repetitive motion reduces the chance that your employees’ muscles will get strained.
Maybe your employees can’t swap tasks–in this case, they should adjust their sitting or standing position. An employee who sits in an office chair should change their position from upright, reclined and declined during the day.
Just slightly changing up the angle of sitting position can keep your employees’ muscles from getting tired.
6. Get Up and Walk Around
Being confined to a desk for eight-hour days can put a lot of strain on someone. Employees that have to remain seated for most of the day should be encouraged to take a stroll around the office. Allow your employees to get up once an hour so they can wander down the hall or get a quick drink of water.
7. Workplace Atmosphere
You may have comfy seats and the proper positioning of keyboards and monitors, but if you ignore the overall atmosphere of your office, you’re missing a huge part of office ergonomics. Office environment includes everything from lighting, air conditioning, heating, and humidity.
Your office should have lighting that is on a softer setting–this is to prevent a glare on computer screens. The same type of lighting that you would use for reading is not the right type of lighting you should use in a setting with a lot of computers.
The temperature of your office should be comfortable for almost everyone. All of your employees have different temperature tolerances–try to adjust the office temperature to a level that can keep most of your employees happy.
Musculoskeletal injuries can actually be avoided in a workplace that is warmer.
8. Take a Break From the Screen
Employees can experience eye strain if they stare at a computer screen for long periods of time. Eye fatigue can be avoided if an employee follows the 20-20-20 rule–look away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, and focus on something that’s at least 20 feet away.
Perhaps they can draw their attention to the clock, printer, or a car in the parking lot outside.
9. Other Ergonomic Accessories
There is plenty of furniture that is tailored to the needs of specific types of people. For example, shorter employees might find it more comfortable to have a footrest underneath their desk.
Employees who spend their day using the phone can benefit from using a headset. This will allow their hands to be free and reduces strain on their neck. If some of your employees read physical documents, try giving them an adjustable document holder and good lighting.
10. Incorporate Nature
Maybe nature does have healing powers. Employees are actually happier when there’s more sunlight in the room. Keep the curtains open, and encourage your employees to talk regular walks around a sun-bathed hallway.
Adding plants in your office can also help your employees feel more at ease. Have your employees frequently look out the window–viewing nature can increase focus. If there aren’t many windows in your office, have your employees use nature images like the sky, the forest, or the beach as their desktop background.
Stay Comfortable Using Office Ergonomics
Creating an ergonomic workstation will benefit you and your employees. Most importantly, implementing office ergonomics show your employees that you care about their well-being.
Check out our business blog for more tips on office life.