How to Ergonomically Enhance Your Office
Posted August 21, 2017
Whether you’ve got a corner office with a view, a cozy cubicle, or simply a desk in a communal area, you’ve likely adorned your workspace with individualized elements to make it a little more you. A few picture frames here and there, maybe a nice lamp or a vase of flowers, and an over-the-door basketball hoop might be among the pieces of self-expression you’ve added to your personal cave. There are a few items you can add to your office that you might not have thought of—items that can help you avoid those aches and pains that often come from hunching over the computer all day. Check out our list of four items you can use to ergonomically enhance your work setup.
First of all, let’s define what we mean by “ergonomic.” Ergonomics has to do with the design of anything involving people, like work, sports, leisure, health, and safety. Ergonomic equipment is designed with the human body in mind to minimize injuries sustained from use over time.
It’s time to swap out that squeaky, uncomfortable desk chair for one that’s ergonomic. Ergonomic chairs are beneficial because they reduce the risk of back pain, neck problems, and hip pressure, and they’re simply more comfortable than other types of chairs. There are plenty of features to look for when choosing a new chair. Some of the benefits to look for include seat height adjustment, lumbar support, a swivel base, and arm support adjustment. This last one is especially important for proper support while you’re typing. According to research conducted by Cornell University, allowing the arms to be supported while sitting minimizes upper limb muscle loads, shoulder loads, spinal loads, and loads on the hips and thighs. It also reduces the force of typing. Extended time spent at a desk can put you at risk for tennis elbow or other elbow, hand, or wrist conditions, so be sure to stretch, take breaks, and choose a chair that allows for plenty of support.
No, we’re not going to tell you to run out and buy a standing desk—rather, what you should look for is an adjustable desk, meaning it can be moved from a sitting to a standing desk (and that the height of the desk can be adjusted as needed). It’s good practice to keep moving throughout the day, and sitting or standing during the entirety of your work hours can take a toll on your body. An adjustable desk also comes into handy to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Evidently, the average desk height (29”) limits 50% of the population from sitting in the proper position when using a keyboard. It’s no wonder that cases of carpal tunnel syndrome began to increase after more and more people switched to office work.
If you spend eight hours of your day typing emails, creating spreadsheets, writing articles, or doing anything else that requires a keyboard, you could be putting yourself at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Continuing these repetitive motions over a long period spells trouble for your wrist health. Many office workers fall into the trap of pushing through the pain in order to continue meeting deadlines and performing their job responsibilities, which can further damage the nerves and tendons (and in some cases, may require surgery). One way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome is to invest in an ergonomic keyboard. When searching for your new keyboard, look for one that allows for typing at a proper angle, includes adjustability options, has sensitive keys, and offers wrist support.
An ergonomic mouse is a great tool for preventing wrist and hand pain and discomfort. The reason for this is that the standard mouse isn’t always the best fit for each individual hand. It might be too small (not allowing for proper support) or it may be too slippery (causing your hand to tense up in order to better control it), but either way, a new mouse should be at the top of your office wish list. When choosing an ergonomic computer mouse, remember that there is no such thing as a “one-size fits all” option, since everyone’s hands are unique. Look for a mouse that best first your hand and your needs. Choose one that offers you a natural grip, good support, and allows you to use a natural wrist position.
With your new ergonomic office furniture and computer accessories, a secret stash of candy, and maybe a lava lamp or two, your workspace will start to feel a little more like a home away from home—one that helps you promote hand and wrist health!
If you’re dealing with a hand condition that causes pain or makes it difficult to use your hands, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your hand health is our priority—and it should be yours as well! We’ll work with you to find a personalized treatment plan so you can get back to doing the things you love most (like busting through those expense reports). To stay up-to-date on everything happening at HSST, make sure to follow us on Facebook! Our hands heal yours!