As I mentioned in my last post, at MoveSafe we believe that injury prevention can be encapsulated into 3 simple ideas:
- Prepare and Maintain the Body
- Prepare the Work Area and Equipment and,
- Healthy Movement, with proper postures and movement patterns.
In part 2 of this 3 part blog post, we explore the idea of Preparing the Work Area and Equipment. While the majority of the content relates to a standard office environment, the principles can be applied to home offices or non-standard work areas as well.
Ergonomics involves the interaction between the worker and their work environment, with a goal of making the interaction as safe, efficient and comfortable as possible.
Setting up your equipment for proper fits makes it easier to maintain correct postures and movement habits; but many of us don’t know what a proper fit looks like.
Take a look at the picture above and follow these basic steps to get started:
Figure out what all those knobs and levers do and make sure the chair is properly adjusted to fit you. Feet should be firmly supported on the floor or a footrest and your back should be well supported by the chair, in a slightly reclined posture. Remember, there is no one size fits all and seated comfort is a subjective measure, so a good ergonomic chair that is properly adjusted to fit still may not be comfortable for some people. If that’s the case consider an after market back cushion or an alternate style chair, if that is an option.
Top of the screen should be at seated eye height and close enough for you to view it comfortably while sitting back properly supported in your chair. If you find yourself squinting or hunching to view the screen, pull it closer. If you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, position the screen lower to minimize the tendency for neck extension (tipping your chin up) to view the screen through the bottom of your lenses. If it’s still difficult to see all parts of the screen clearly with your multi-focal lenses, consider single lens, computer glasses. If you have more than one screen, set them to minimize neck rotation, leaning or other awkward postures to view them. Screens should be at the same viewing distance and centered in front if used equally or the main monitor directly in front and secondary immediately beside it and angled slightly inward.
Keyboard and Mouse
Input devices should be close beside each other and at the same height. The ideal height should have the devices at or slightly below your elbow height when your arm and shoulder are relaxed. Keep the devices close to minimize forward reaching or hunching. There are a variety of alternate keyboards, mice and other input devices on the market all with different pros and cons but most people can maintain proper posture with standard equipment provided the equipment is properly positioned. *Stay tuned for a future blog post on alternate input devices and their uses & benefits!
Position papers in a location that minimizes hunching or twisting to see them. For frequently referenced material, consider tilting them up on a document stand either directly in front, between your keyboard and monitor, or close beside the monitor and at the same viewing distance.
If your phone is used regularly consider positioning it on your non-dominant side to minimize reaching and gripping for your dominant hand. Avoid holding the phone between your ear and shoulder, instead obtain a headset or set the phone down if you need to type.
For a printable, step-by-step walkthrough of how to position your equipment for best fit, download MoveSafe’s workstation set up guide for either home or office. Both are available under the Free Downloads section of this website.