An ergonomic workplace is an often-underestimated topic because every day we are sitting for many hours, whether in the car, on the sofa or at our office desk. We don´t integrate enough movement in our everyday office job and after a long, exhausting day at work, most people don’t have joy moving. That’s why you should take more time for the ergonomic improvement at work. Just follow these rules:

Some basic rules for working ergonomically

The following list shows the most important rules for a more ergonomic workplace:

  • Minimum 10 m2 per workspace
  • Sufficient lightning/ daylight
  • The optimal temperature at your workplace is 20-22 °C
  • The optimal humidity is between 40 and 60 %
  • Minimum 22″ screen size
  • Adapt office desk height to the user – ideal would be a standing desk
  • Sitting on an ergonomic office chair and adjust it to user
  • Keeping noises at low level
  • Placing plants in your office to improve the working atmosphere
Ergonomic workplace: how to work healthy at your office desk

Ergonomic workplace: how to work healthy at your office desk


Definition ergonomics

Mehr Ergonomie am Arbeitsplatz

What does ergonomics exactly mean? The aim of ergonomics is to achieve the best possible work results and support the physical and mental health of every employee.

Ergonomics (originally from greek ergon = work or labour and nomos = natural law) mainly describes the legality of people´s efficiency in their working environment.

The aim of ergonomics is to achieve the best possible work results and support the physical and mental health of every employee.

For achieving good ergonomics, it´s not only necessary to follow the main rules, but what’s also important is the work content, its organisation and environment. This means that someone who works ergonomically, not only provides an atmosphere of wellbeing but also better working results.

Ergonomics: the most important guidelines for employers

Ergonomics is part of a preventative workplace for safety and health and especially matters when it comes to office work. Working at incorrectly equipped and configured workplaces with monitors leads to back problems in the long term.

If you follow ergonomic guidelines, it means that your office chair, desk, and monitor are attuned to each other. In other words, you should be able to look upright straight ahead at your monitor.

Office chair and desk are most important because they can be most likely adapted to your very own body dimensions. Thus, sitting for a long time can guarantee a optimal posture and so, bend forward tensions and health damage.


Why ergonomics is so important

Musculoskeletal disorders, resulting from badly equipped workplaces with monitors and wrong sitting postures, cause a heavy loss of productivity. You can permanently reduce those losses with an ergonomic workplace.

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Instructions for organizing your workplace ergonomically

Let´s have a look on how to improve ergonomics at your workplace:

The monitor

  • using a monitor big enough – according to a study, employees with a 24″ monitor work faster than employees with a 18″ monitor
  • top edge of monitor should be approximately at eye height

 

The office desk

A standing desk has a lot of advantages.

More ergonomics at your office desk: if you don´t want to sit at your office chair for hours, you need to get an electric height-adjustable office desk.

  • The desk has to be minimum 80cm deep and 160cm wide
  • Depending on your height, the desk should be around 18-30cm over the seat
  • Forearms are laying horizontal on the desk
  • You can move your feet under the desk without getting tangled up in cables
  • Using a height-adjustable office desk is recommended

The office chair

  • The office chair has to be adapted individually to the user
  • The office chair should enable different working positions
  • Legs should approximately form a right angle
  • Sole of the foot is standing straight on the ground
  • Upper legs laying on seat horizontally
  • When leaning back, knee pits should stand out above the front edge of the seat circa as wide as two fingers
  • The optimal seat height is between 42-53cm and the width around 40-48cm

The office space

  • Ensuring enough space per workplace including monitors (ca. 10 m2)
  • Optimal humidity is between 40-60 %. Our tip: sufficient ventilation, humidifier, and plants with big leaves
  • Room temperature is between 20-22 °C
  • Minimum noise level in the office, since even low levels of noise will affect productivity and efficiency. Noise level should not be higher than 55 dB(A)

Lighting conditions

  • Daylight is recommended for workspaces with monitors
  • No direct light at desk, more likely wall lamps
  • Placing the desk as no shadows are falling on the keyboard or pad when writing
  • Never place the desk frontal to the window

Bonus: perfect workout for the office

Ergonomie: Das perfekte Büroworkout für Zwischendurch

Ergonomics: the perfect workout for small breaks
Picture: UBER IMAGES / fotolia.com

Although there are existing numerous tips for having more ergonomics at workplaces, only a few employees take action to improve their health. Many accept the fact of having health problems after a long and exhausting day at work. But they are completely wrong with their attitude. Because what now looks like a small issue, can be quite different in just a few years and lead to serious health complaints.

Employees often still don´t know, beside this wrong attitude, how to realise a workout in office. What are effective exercises and how to do them correctly. In this case, we are here to help you by presenting a few movement sequences for a perfect workout at work which you can easily do during your break and which addresses all important and most affected body parts.

What can be done to relieve headaches at the office?

A good choice are massages that also can be carried out by yourself. Massaging the temples without exerting too much pressure with it, can ease headaches. The best thing to do is to place your fingers a few centimetres next to each eyebrow and massage carefully.

What can be done to relieve a tense neck at the office?

Not only does every move hurt when having a tension in the neck. Quite often, the neck is to blame for the headaches. Simple stretching exercises can help relieving tensions.

For this, follow these instructions:

  • Sit as upright as possible on a chair
  • Clasp with your right hand the seat sideways
  • Put the other hand on your head with your elbow pointing outward
  • Then turn your head slightly to the left and lead it with your left hand towards your left shoulder
  • After a few seconds, repeat with the other side

What can be done to relieve tensed shoulders?

Do you feel pain in your shoulders and can hardly lift them after a long day at work? If so, you should already do something about it during working hours:

First exercise

  • Sit upright
  • Move your shoulders in circles back and forth multiple times

Second exercise

  • Put your shoulders in front
  • Hold them up and move backwards – breath in
  • Drop them – breath out
  • Repeat three to four times

Additionally, you should pay attention to your shoulders not tensing up or hanging permanently while working.

What helps to prevent back pain in the office?

It is the most classic one of complaints and has become a common illness: the back pain. Approximately a quarter of the absence days off work are led to back pain, even though they luckily ease off after some time in most cases. You can already act during your workout in the office, in order to prevent the pain at all.

What can be done to relieve sore or numb legs?

Usually, legs get neglected during office work because more important areas like the back or neck are kept in mind. Even though, small legroom at the workplace can be painful. What helps in the first place is movement and standing up regularly. Lifting your legs under the desk can be helpful too.

As well, an easy and effective exercise: stand up on tiptoe, straighten your legs completely and keep your balance for a few seconds. Then, shift your weight to the back until you stand on your heels and tiptoes are up. Raise them up as high as possible.

The post "Ergonomic workplace: 33 tips for working healthy" written by:

Stephan Forstmann

Experte für Home Office und gesunde Büroarbeit

Stephan is from Dresden, Germany. He is a founding member of Deskonia since 2009.

Stephan is a home office worker since 2013 and became a home office expert. He shares his experience and publishes various tutorials for a better life at the office und creates tutorials on topics like ergonomics and communication.

In private, he is also very passionate about photography. He loves to chat about photography-gear and composition an. Stephan also published a lot of photography tutorials.

If you want to get in touch with Stephan, you can easily reach him via e-mail: forstmann@bueromoebel-experte.de.

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