Having an ergonomic office space is about more than just good posture and comfort, and so many people tend to throw the word ergonomics around without really considering what it means and why it is so important. After all, ergonomics is a field of study in itself, focusing on how all of your workplace equipment can be used to keep you safe and comfortable while increasing your productivity.
Ergonomic principles deal with people and the environment they work in, and also takes human nature into account as well. To put it simply, ergonomics is more than about comfort and productivity at your office standing desk, and it has various ergonomic principles that you should know about.
Whether you want to introduce ergonomics into your own office space or have benefited from them already and want to know why, here are some of the principles you should know about.
Pros and Cons Of Ergonomics
- Promotes healthy posture
- Improves productivity
- Can take some getting used too
What Are The Principles Of Ergonomics?
1. Promoting Neutral Postures
Unlike the common opinion about ergonomics, it actually doesn’t improve your posture or make things better. Instead, all it does is make your posture stop being so bad. It promotes a straightened spine in your office ergonomic chair instead of a hunched over ‘c’ shaped one and can also promote the proper alignment of your neck and hands.
It has been well documented that problems with posture don’t just lead to productivity troubles, but also health problems later down the line in life. Ergonomics are all about promoting posture and supporting the lessening of force down on your joints.
2. Helping You Work At The Proper Height
Analyze your desk for a moment. Are you naturally sliding into some of these types of posture? Such as the ‘forward head’- the back and shoulders are fine, but right as we get up to the neck area, we find that it is bent forward. You might also have the hunchback position or ‘kyphosis’- This posture problem refers to a curving of your upper back and shoulders.
Even when you stand you could have posture problems, and most of them stem from not working at the correct height. An ergonomic standing desk promotes working at the correct height for you, making sure your posture is perfect to reduce health problems and that you aren’t at risk of hurting yourself whenever you work.
3. Reducing Excessive Motions
Everything we do expends energy, from breathing to walking to making a presentation. Sitting behind a desk expends far more energy than you would think, especially if you are doing it all wrong with bad posture. Office workers are hunched over with bad posture, poor hand placement on their computers, and have a host of other problems that are expending more energy than they need.
With office ergonomics, those energy leaks are plugged up, leaving more energy for you as you deal with the problems of the day. One of the major energy leaks is excessive motions, and for example, let’s take hitting the back key on your computer. You probably do it a hundred times a day, but the process is very labor intensive. You need to stop what you are doing, move your mouse towards the back icon, click it, and then wait.
It takes three seconds, sure, but that’s three seconds and a movement of your hand and wrist that turns out to be unnecessary in the long run. That’s why most ergonomic mice have a button on the side where your pointer finger falls naturally. You simply tap that button, and the back key is automatically pressed. No movement, no interruption to the flow of your work, and the movement is fluid.
That’s what ergonomics is about. It might not seem like manually clicking the backspace key is a massive waste of energy but it’s those little things that contribute to workplace fatigue.
4. Keep Everything in Reach
Another thing that most ergonomic desks do well is that they keep everything you need well within reach. Most desks can hold several pounds in weight, some of them even going into the 300-pound capacity territory, and they are still wide enough to be considered good desks. These ergonomic desks keep everything you need within reach.
Instead of having to strain our bodies and posture every time we need to take a sip of coffee or turn to cross reference something with the file on our desk, the movement simply flows. Ergonomic principles believe that the movements at the ergonomic home office should just flow without trouble. You should be able to reach for anything you need on the desk without a significant change in posture.
5. Allow You To Move
While you aren’t going to lose a ton of weight while moving at a standing desk, most ergonomic desks are designed with some level of fidgeting in mind. Whenever you are on your feet, you get your muscle mass going, and even if you do something as minimal as stretch your legs or tap your foot, that expends energy. All of those little movements, plus the activated muscle mass, can burn far more calories than when you sit.
Plus, it can prevent static load fatigue, where your body starts to experience fatigue from the cumulative effort of certain tasks. A good standing desk should encourage movement, even if it is minimal, and that can help keep you alert and focused on your work.
Using Ergonomic Design Principles
As you can see, there are several design principles that go into building a perfect ergonomic standing workstation. It’s not just about creating better posture for you, but also about how that posture affects you and helps you get to where you work better. If you have an ergonomic workspace, take a moment to see if it is doing all that it can to help you out.
Your ergonomic home office could always stand to be improved, and you should keep that in mind as you keep tweaking it. With the correct improvements, it can only make you a much better and more productive worker in the long run. What worker doesn’t want that?
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