9 Great Ergonomic Improvements to Make at Your Work Area

Is your workstation designed, selected, and adjusted to fit you? If not, it’s time you made a few improvements to make it a comfortable place. Ergonomics is about decreasing strain by ensuring safe, health, and optimal working conditions through improving the equipment, design of workstations, and procedures. The ultimate goal is to provide a productive work environment – because it’s good for business.

Here are nine great ergonomic improvements to get you started.

Ergonomic Chair

All too often the office chair is too high, too big, or too deep.

The problem with this is your legs and feet don’t get the proper support, plus it tends to pull your whole body out of line. Your lumbar spine also doesn’t get the right support, and the weight of your arms ends up pulling on your neck and shoulders.

If your office chair is too low, more pressure is exerted on your wrists and hands, as the hand-wrist-elbow alignment is taken out of balance.

Get an ergonomic chair or improvise by adding a foot rest or lumbar support cushion.

The best ergonomic office chair will have options for you to adjust the seat depth, chair back height, seat tilt, and chair back tilt.

One of the best on the market is the Herman Miller Aeron, which comes with eight different tension zones for precision comfort. Each zone is ergonomically designed to suit different parts of your body.

Proper lighting

Nothing strains your eyes and causes headaches like poor lighting.

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Get a full spectrum or fluorescent light, but if you can, ensure more natural light comes into your work area.

Proper lighting keeps you alert, happy, and focused, so make sure there are ample amounts.

Adjust keyboard height checkpoints

It isn’t enough to have your ergonomic chair well-adjusted to your upright posture; you’ll also need to adjust your computer’s keyboard.

The ideal keyboard height checkpoints will ensure your wrists are flat, level, or slightly lower than your elbows.

Your shoulders should be relaxed, with upper arms hanging down straight from your shoulders so your elbows are directly at your sides.

Placement

Our human instincts naturally keep us on alert when our backs are facing a window or door, no matter the setting.

Think about the placement of your furnishings before you purchase new ones. Redesign your space, if it allows, so you can face the door and see who goes in, out, or who is passing by.

Alternatively, position a mirror in such a way that you can see everything behind you without turning around every time.

Live plants

A 2015 report by Human Spaces noted that indoor greenery also delivers better well-being scores, greater productivity, and higher creativity, among other benefits.

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Live indoor plants like the African Violet, Oxalis, English Ivy, or Lucky Bamboo, enhance a sense of calm and add color to the workplace.

Computer monitor distance and height

Computer monitors are movable so it should be easy to adjust them to the optimal distance and height.

This not only helps you work better but prevents eye strain and neck pain, among other possible problems.

Once you’re settled at your desk, adjust the monitor’s height to the center of the screen (using an adjustable monitor stand will help) or just below eye level. As for distance, if you can reach your hand toward your monitor with your shoulder still in line, keep it that way.

Eliminate clutter (or organize it)

A cluttered work area creates barriers to focus and productivity. Clutter dominates your mind creating more stress as you feel pressured when you look over the stacks of paperwork and stationery floating on your desk.

The remedy is to eliminate or organize it.

Eliminating it makes you feel less exhausted, overwhelmed and depressed. Organizing it in visible, coordinated filing and storage systems helps you find things easily.

Break area

A break area is a great spot to take in a bit of nature, or lie down and gaze at the colorful art on your wall.

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A change of environment will always give your body and mind a much-needed break.

For larger offices, a full-blown lounge that serves as a casual co-working space helps inspire creativity, and encourage collaboration.

Posture

Whether you get the fanciest chair and desk, or the best equipment in the world, none of that will help you if your posture is awkward.

The basics are both feet supported by the footrest or floor, shoulders relaxed, and wrists even with elbows. Your back should also be against a backrest with spine support.

Sit uprightly and as close to the edge of your desk as is comfortable. Ensure everything you need is within easy reach to stay in good alignment.

Make sure you take breaks, as sitting for long periods is a health risk.

Did we miss out on a great idea for improving ergonomics at the work area? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share with us below.

3 comments

  1. During the evening, where do you place a lamp to illuminate your keyboard?

    1. Thanks for your comment Carlos. The desk lamp should be positioned such that it won’t reflect on the screen of your computer, and that hand shadows don’t streak across your work. If you’re left handed, place the lamp on the right side of your desk, and vice versa. Make sure the arm of your lamp is long and flexible enough to shine the light onto your keyboard, and out of the way when not needed. You can measure a 15-inch distance from the desk top to the lamp shade’s bottom to keep the light focused on your keyboard, reading materials, and desk top. If you’re in a small workspace, try using a USB light lamp (such as the ones here: https://www.geeky-gadgets.com/mr-brightside-usb-keyboard-light/) that you can connect to your USB port on your keyboard. If you want to save on your desk space, consider placing a multi-functional floor lamp close by to shine light directly to task areas. Hope this helps!

  2. Any specs on LED lighting? I currently have a 50/50 mix of LED/Fluorescent throughout the house. Replacing the fluorescent bulbs one room at a time.
    Thank you in advance for your insights.

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