According to a recent Staples survey, office workers across the country are asking for more ergonomically enhanced work stations, citing that better office accommodations would decrease their stress levels while upping their productivity.
And with 86% of survey respondents complaining that they arenâ€™t comfortable in their current workspace, there is no better time to think about why and how you should enhance your own workstation.
Why Enhance Your Workstation
Whether you are involved in the private sector or public education and healthcare, you can benefit from ergonomically enhancing your workspace. And by communicating your needs to management and administration, your entire organization stands to gain great benefits in the way of increased worker productivity, safer work environments and more efficient task flow.
Neglecting the ergonomic needs of your workplace does not just put you at risk of job injury or dissatisfaction. It also costs your company in significant ways. Consider the following statistics to understand just how important it is to ergonomically enhance your work station:
- According to the US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, repetitive stress injuriesâ€”commonly associated with computer and office workâ€”are the nationâ€™s most common and costly occupational health problem, affecting thousands of American workers and costing more than $20 billion a year in workerâ€™s compensation.
- Approximately 260,000 carpal tunnel release operations are performed each year, with 47% of the cases considered to be work related, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
- The costs to businesses that employ workers at high risk to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are staggering. The National Council of Compensation Insurance estimates that repetitive stress injuries cost employers over $80 billion yearly. The average compensation of a CTS victim is $33,000.00.
4 Ways to Enhance Your Workspace
While the study of ergonomics is extensive, and there are numerous ways to ergonomically enhance your workspace, the following list offers some basic, crucial points for consideration.
1. Enhance Your Laptop
While laptops offer ease and convenience for telecommuting, you put your neck and back at risk if you use a laptop as your full time machine.Â According to ergonomic expert David Rempel, M.D., MPh and professor of Medicine at the University of California:
â€œUsing a laptop for more than four hours per day presents an important ergonomic problem. The top of a computer screen should generally be near eye level to avoid neck pain from bending the head forward to see the screen.â€
The most optimal way to improve your consistent laptop use is to invest in furniture that effectively docks your machine in a useful and comfortable way. You should consider using laptop security desks, adjustable laptop tables, wall mounts or computer carts for such needs.
For institutions that provide workspaces for others, such as schools or conference centers, because most occasional occupants of your space will be working with laptops, you should provide for their comfort by considering these school furniture products as well.
2. Make Sure You Have Good Back Support
A high quality office chair will have a built-in lumbar support and adjustable options. According to ergonomic experts, â€œThe best seated posture is not an erect 90 degrees, but rather a reclined posture of 100 to110 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the floor or resting on a footrest if needed, and avoid craning your neck or hunching your shoulders.
3. Increase Your Font Size
While it is true that equipment plays a major role in your level of comfort, you can ease your neck and eye strain with something as simple as moving from 12 point to 14 point font. According to David Rempel, â€œA primary reason for people assuming poor posture is that the text is too small so they have to lean forward to read.â€
4. Take A Load Off Your Legs
A final way to enhance the ergonomics of your workspace is to make sure that you have enough space under your workstation for placement of your thighs. Having appropriate thigh clearance is important for good blood flow to the feet and legs. Using a footrest also helps maintain comfort and good blood supply.
These ideas give you some solutions in how to improve your workstation and gain more comfort, safety and productivity.