About Ergonomics and Its Benefits
There are so many benefits to incorporating ergonomics into your workplace, and working from home should not be any different. When you are in the comfort of your home, there are infinite possibilities in terms of how you can incorporate ergonomics to maximize comfort and minimize body pain.
Simply put, ergonomics refers to the study of individuals in their working environment and how the workplace can be modified to fit the worker. Ergonomics is so essential because when your body is stressed or in an awkward posture and performing uncomfortable movements repeatedly, you will be more likely to experience painful injuries and your productivity will suffer. It is all about modifying the workplace to fit the person, not modifying the worker’s body in a way that is uncomfortable in order to fit the workplace. Some of the benefits of incorporating ergonomics into your working environment include:
- Improved health
You might think that the main purpose of ergonomics is to relieve body pain. This is true, but incorporating ergonomics is also a great way to improve overall health. For example, ergonomics can benefit your cardiovascular health and can prevent heart disease.
- Improved mental fitness
Ergonomics will not only improve your physical strength, but it can improve your mental fitness as well. Ergonomics decreases pain, strengthens muscles, and increases blood flow, which will make it easier to be engaged and concentrate on the tasks at hand.
- Better productivity
Ergonomics is a great way to make your workplace feel more natural, which will reduce unnecessary distractions that come with ill-placed and inconvenient workplaces. Ergonomics will also reduce the causes of musculoskeletal disorders, which will give you one less thing to worry about and help you be more efficient, productive, and have greater job satisfaction.
- Decreased pain
The goal of ergonomics is to make the workplace safer and more comfortable. These techniques will put less strain on the joints. Incorporating ergonomics in a workplace will reduce the risk factors that lead to discomfort, which will decrease pain.
- Eliminating daily hazards
When you incorporate ergonomics into your work environment, you will eliminate many of the daily hazards that come along with a work environment. Unsafe workspaces lead to distractions and worse consequences down the line. It is important to pay attention to the setup of your workplace so that you are not ignoring potential hazards.
At-Home Ergonomics Tips
Before you run to the nearest office store to deck out your office to buy some convenient ergonomic options, you will want to take note of some simple steps you can take to make your workplace healthier and more comfortable. Some of our tips will require some purchases, but many of them can be achieved through simple adjustments. See some of our best at-home ergonomic tips below:
- Avoid hunching over the laptop
For those of you who work from home, spending lots of time at your laptop is simply a reality. However, there are some ways that you can adjust your seating arrangements to avoid uncomfortable hunching over your laptop. If you sit too long in a hunched position, you will experience neck and back pain, as well as pins and needles, numbness, and you will have a higher risk of a repetitive strain injury on your arms and wrists. Simply putting your eyes in line with the area of the screen that you focus on the most will make a big difference. You should also make sure that what you need is within arm’s reach and your body does not need to shift uncomfortably to get the items you need. Furthermore, your keyboard should be adjusted for maximum comfort of your wrists, shoulders, and neck.
- Use a proper office chair that is adjusted correctly for your height
When you use your office chair, you should make sure it is adjusted so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are in line with your hips. At first, it might not seem like the easiest task to sit up straight or to keep your hips far back in your chair, but these small efforts will pay off massively in the long run. If you are not sure exactly how to sit, a good rule of thumb is that the back of the chair should be reclined at a 100-to-110-degree angle and the keyboard should be close and directly in front of you. If your office chair is uncomfortable, you might want to consider an upgrade. It also helps to avoid letting your feet dangle. This can be accomplished by placing a few books or boxes under a desk and placing the thighs parallel to the floor and the hips slightly higher than the knees. When looking for an office chair, look for one with adjustable height options, adjustable backrests, lumbar support, sufficient seat depth and width, breathable material and sufficient padding, armrests, and swiveling capabilities.
- Get up and walk around periodically
Sitting is an essential part of the day for many of us who work from home, but that does not mean we cannot be kind to our bodies and give it the movement it needs. Sitting for extended periods of time can lead to weakening and cause the large leg and gluteal muscles to become weak. These muscles are essential for our daily functions like walking and stabilizing. If these muscles are weak, you will be more likely to become injured or strained from falls. Research has shown that this phenomenon called “sitting disease” is a reality. If you must sit for long periods of work, it is essential to get up every 30 minutes and move around.
- Protect your wrists
Carpal tunnel syndrome has increased dramatically in recent years. It is the most common entrapment neuropathy, affecting approximately 3-6% of adults in the general population, according to the American Family Physician. There are some important factors to take into consideration when working to protect your wrists and prevent carpal tunnel and other injuries. To protect your wrists, make sure that the back of your wrists are flat or only slightly bent back. Avoid resting your arms on armchair rests while typing. Avoid leaning the wrists against the desk edge because this will create contact stress on the wrists and can lead to wrist and hand injuries. It also safest to use a laptop at an angle that allows you to view the screen easily without bending or rotating the neck and without putting pressure on the wrists.
For more physical therapy tips like these, call ProFysio Physical Therapy at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.