Virtual News (En)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Seven steps to improve the ergonomics of your workstation

By Sacha Kocovski

Freelancer, employee or employer, we all believe in using means that guarantee our well being in the work place. Here are a few tips that will allow everyone to increase his well being by improving his workspace.

1. Listen to your body
Do you feel pain in your back, wrists, hands, neck or shoulders? Your work posture could be the problem!
Arrange your workstation properly and think about improving your posture.
If the pain persists, consult a specialist (i.e. an occupational physician) who will give you the best course of treatment.

2. Vary your posture
To avoid too much weight on one part of your body (back, neck, etc.), vary your work posture as often as possible.
Try to perform repetitive tasks in different ways: sitting, standing, and/or using different movements.

3. See to your seating comfort
Make sure to always have your seating comfort adapted to your morphology and work. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are firmly flat on the floor and that your knees are at an angle of about 90°.
Also make sure that your back is well supported by the chair: lower back firmly in the chair, neck straight, shoulders back.

4. Be on the level
Make sure that your forearms are slightly raised and parallel to your desk.
To minimise the risks of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist), try not to rest your wrists on the ‘sharp’ side of your desk for long periods of time.

5. Position your screen
The position of the screen is vital. To avoid neck movements, place your screen so that the upper part of the screen is at eye level.
Also, with your back firmly in your chair, you must barely be able to touch your screen.
Finally, position your screen so that no source of light (window lamp, etc.) hinders the legibility of your screen.

6. Tame your mouse
When using your mouse, your arm must be in a comfortable position. Make sure that your mouse is not too far away from you and that your arms are sufficiently supported (using the adjustable armrests, for example).

7. Vary your tasks
Think about using the variety of tasks that make up your work in an effective way. Every now and then, leave your desk to find out about a project from your colleague, file some documents or read a report on paper rather than on screen.

Good luck in your work!

About the author:
As an ergonomics consultant, Sacha Kocovski founded the ERGOLABS group in order to help businesses improve their products and work systems by paying more attention to their users.

To find out more, read Kelly Andrews’ (2004), Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics.

English Translation by Virtual Words


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