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Office Ergonomics: A Check-List for Working Smarter and Healthier

Updated: Aug 4, 2021


Ergonomics is the science of interactions between individuals and technology. It is applied for the purpose of making tasks, equipment, and environments more compatible with peoples’ needs and abilities. Ergonomics is intended to promote individual health and well-being and prevent cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) which is an encompassing term to describe a variety of nervous and musculoskeletal injuries caused by sustained postures, repetitive movements, and/or motions involving pressure or force. This includes carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and Raynaud’s syndrome.


According to Pamela Dempster, CTDs are the fastest growing classification of work-related illnesses. As CTDs are largely preventable, it is critical that the ways we move and the technologies we use support our health and well-being as we work. The check-list below contains ergonomic strategies and methods that are proven to prevent CTDs and enhance employee well-being and performance, wherever you may be working.


Materials and Equipment

The materials and equipment within your workspace play critical roles in supporting you as you work. Utilizing them correctly to suit your physique will have short and long-term benefits for your personal well-being and professional endeavours. Read on for considerations for home or workplace office materials and equipment.



Office Chair

i) Your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest.

ii) Your thighs are parallel to the floor.

iii) Your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle and parallel to the floor when you are working. Wrists should be in a neutral position.

v) Your arms rest comfortably on the chair’s armrests (when applicable).


Work Station (Sitting or Standing)



Computer Monitor/Laptop



Keyboard and Mouse



Phones/Mobile Devices

  • When having phone conversations while working, opt for a hands-free option when possible instead of holding your phone between your neck and shoulder (e.g. use a wireless headset, choose the speakerphone feature if privacy is not an issue.)

  • When using a mobile device, raise it closer to your line of sight instead of lowering your head to prevent pain or soreness from developing (“Text Neck”).


 

Ergonomic Strategies for Well-Being

Arrange your work and office materials to be within your reach while you are seated. If you are unable to reach something while seated, stand up to do so to avoid excessive stretching or bending motions.


If your work involves sitting at a desk, block off 5-10 minutes every hour to stand up and walk around. According to research, taking consistent standing and/or walking breaks can improve cognitive performance and decrease the chances of developing chronic health conditions, including CTDs.


When working on a computer for an extended period of time, blink your eyes more frequently. This will help to keep your eyes lubricated, which will help to avoid dryness and irritation.



When working, face your work station directly. Avoid working in a position that requires you to turn/raise/lower your head and neck to prevent any pain or soreness from developing.

If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort while you work, seek advice from your physician.

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