Believe it or not, there is a scientific discipline, which is concentrated on improving the productivity, health, safety and comfort of people. It is called ergonomics. The main purpose of this discipline is to encourage business managers to make their employees feel comfortable at their workstations and at the same time to reduce the risk of work injuries.
Some users have special needs such as left-handedness, color blindness, vision impairment, etc. The office equipment should be designed and sized to fit the individual user`s needs.
In general, ergonomically designed furniture can reduce pain and injury, increase productivity and decrease complaints and discomfort. It allows each user to set up his workstation according to the requirements of his job and daily tasks.
When organizing ergonomic workplaces you should have in mind that the office furniture needs to eliminate:
- static posture
- repetitive motion
- poor access
- controls that are confusing to operate or require too much force.
Therefore, furniture that is selected should be suitable for the types of tasks performed and be adaptable to multi-purpose use. Office workstations must be designed carefully to meet the need of the employees.
When we talk about ergonomics, there are 3 things that need to be accomplished:
- Enhance human abilities
- Overcome human limitations
- Foster user`s acceptance
To achieve these objectives, there are several key elements of ergonomics in the office to consider.
- Equipment - video display terminals
- Software design - system design and screen design for greater usability
- Workstation design - chairs, work surfaces and accessories.
Environment - space planning, use of colors, lighting, acoustics, air quality and thermal factors.
- Training - preparing workers to deal with technology.
Recommendations for an ergonomic workstation design:
- Correct work station height depends on the certain user, the chair and other factors concerning the user and desk. The standard is for the user to be able to sit at the work station with the keyboard in place and be able to easily maintain a 90-100 degree elbow angle and straight wrists while keying (typing). The height of an adjustable keyboard support should adjust between 23" and 28" to accommodate most-but not all-users. 26" is a recommended compromise position while leg clearance must still be considered.
- Leg room: Knee spaces should allow some changes of position even with the keyboard support lowered to the correct level for use. The knee space should be at least 30" wide by 19"deep by 27" high. For those who use a footrest, clearance must be calculated with the legs in place on the footrest. Drawers and support legs (for furniture) should not go where human legs need to fit.
- The work station top should be big enough to allow space for all computer-related necessary equipment, paperwork, books and all other materials needed while working at the computer. Working with materials on chairs and at odd angles has the potential for neck and other body strain. Frequently used items should be kept close (on a reachable distance). A general recommendation is that the work area top should be at least as big as the standard office desk - 30 inches by 60 inches. A depth of at least 30 inches allows flexibility in use/reuse of the work area. Usable space may be maximized by good wire/cable management.
Don`t forget the fact that being seated all day long is not a good idea for one`s health. Neither standing up is. When you are organizing the ergonomic workstation get a height adjustable desk which allows the user to change his position! This is maybe one of the most important recommendations you need to have in mind!
Designing your office and all your employee`s workstations ergonomically is a great business investment. If you’re planning smartly, you won`t need to spend too much money and all the benefits will be for your company and your team. It is worth doing it for sure!
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