July 11 2011|08.00 AM UTC

Stan Reybern

Creating an Ergonomic Workplace

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Ergonomics has become a buzzword around offices everywhere and for good reason. The proper set up of work equipment can help employees be more productive and prevent injury. While there are a number of firms that specialize in implementing ergonomics in the workplace, they are certainly not a necessity, especially for smaller companies or home offices.

Moreover, you also don’t need to spend a lot of money to create an ergonomic-friendly environment. For the most part, you just need to mind the five basic aspects of ergonomics:

Safety – Ergonomics is meant to help prevent injuries that can occur from repetitive tasks and sitting in front of a computer screen all day. One easy way to prevent eyestrain and headaches is to optimize font size on your screen by style, color and size to make it easy to read.

Comfort – If you cannot get comfortable at your workplace, you’re doing something wrong. Discomfort causes your body strain and may eventually cause larger injuries. A good ergonomic desk chair is built so you can adjust every part, to make it just right for you. While some of these chairs can be quite expensive, the Ophira Bentwood Task Chair only costs $69.99 and should provide the comfort you need.

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Ease of Use – The things that you use constantly should always remain well within reach so you never have to struggle to do everyday work. For example, consider a larger computer monitor that’s well lit so you don’t need to struggle to see the screen. Your keyboard, mouse and phone should also be in a comfortable position so you don’t need to move your arms and wrists too much to use them.

Performance and Productivity – One of the most common work-related injuries is back pain. If you can cut back on days you can’t work from this injury, you will be able to increase your productivity. Maintaining your posture while sitting for hours on end is difficult but necessary to prevent back pain. If you can’t quite adjust to chairs, consider alternative options such as standing desks, sitting on an exercise ball or investing in a kneeling chair.

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Aesthetics – Using a consistent design or font cannot only help improve the look of a workplace but also make it easier on the employees by preventing them from having to adjust every time they turn around. Many smaller companies choose to have the same computers throughout the office to provide a unified look and feel. All-in-one Apple desktops are a great way to save space and provide a nice clean look for the office.

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Many aspects of ergonomics are simple to introduce and greatly impact your health and productivity. Consider working with your company to implement some basic ergonomic ideas or see if they will reimburse you for ergonomic equipment. After all, what company wouldn’t want to save on health care costs while simultaneously increasing productivity?

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