Ergonomics is the science of designing and adjusting a workspace to suit the needs of its users; this includes the arrangement of furniture and equipment. By combining anatomy, physiology, psychology and engineering, businesses can improve employee comfort and increase efficiency and productivity.
The relationship between an employee and their work environment has an enormous impact on their physical and mental health, which is why it can be extremely valuable to both worker and employer. The furniture and equipment employees have access to are a big part of their workspace so if something isn’t working for them, it can have a big impact too. Get your office fit out right and you’ll have a happy and productive workforce, get it wrong and workers can become demotivated, unhappy and, in some cases, experience issues such as repetitive strain injury.
In this blog we’ll be taking you through the key points you need to consider when it comes to ergonomics during your commercial office fit out to ensure your workers can not only work efficiently but also produce their very best work.
When it comes to office chairs, posture is vital, especially when you’re spending hours at a time sitting at your desk. A good ergonomic chair will also reduce the chances of common aches and pains such as back and neck pain, all of which can lead to long-term and sometimes permanent issues if left untreated. The Health and Safety Executive recommends the following:
- Your office chair should provide good lower back support or, if this is not possible, a cushion or additional back support accessories should be sourced
- The height of the seat should equally support the front and back of your thighs
- There should be a gap of 2-3 cm between front of the seat and the bottom and back of your knee
Where possible, chairs should also provide good arm support to help support your neck and shoulders. Both of your feet should be flat on the ground without having to strain your feet or legs; if this isn’t possible, foot rests can be introduced for elevation.
Sitting down for a long time has been shown to be bad for your health so encouraging your employees to get out of their chair and move around on a regular basis will help to counteract these problems.
Nowadays, the majority of office workers spend several hours in front of a screen each working day so having a properly positioned computer monitor or laptop screen can have a profound effect on your health. If positioned at the wrong angle or height, a screen can cause neck pain, shoulder tension and headaches.
Optimal screen positioning depends on a number of factors including height of the monitor, distance to the screen and arrangement with multiple monitors. The Health and Safety Executive recommends the following:
- The top of your screen should be level with your eyes
- Your screen should be at about an arm’s length away, directly in front of you on desk or other surface
- Your keyboard should be just below elbow height and central
- Your mouse should be in line with your elbow
Again, advising your employees to take regular breaks away from their screen will help them to relax and re-set their joints as well as reducing eye strain and headaches.
There are all sorts of options when it comes to desks these days. An adjustable desk can be the ideal ergonomic solution, with the option to adjust its height to suit the individual using it or even switch things up and use it as a standing desk for a change.
Breakout areas and meeting pods are another great solution, giving your team a change of scenery for part of their day. Not only will this give them a break from their usual seated position but it will also help them to re-energise and refresh their minds. And don’t forget about the all important breakroom and communal kitchen - your staff members need a place where they can socialise and restore.
As we transition into a new year, now is the perfect time to consider refreshing your workspace as workers gear up to return to the office. If you’d like some help with your office furniture or office design, contact us for a chat today.