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Article Sep 21

How to achieve perfect ergonomics at the workplace

The best tips for healthy office work - how to design your office ergonomically.

Setting up and designing an ergonomic office is not that easy. In order for the ergonomics at the workplace to be optimally adapted to you, the technical equipment, the furnishings and the entire working environment must meet certain requirements. Here you can find out what you need to pay attention to for healthy office work and what equipment you need.

What is ergonomics in the workplace?

In order to get an idea of what you need for your ergonomic workplace, this basic question should be clarified first. Ergonomics at the workplace means that the technical equipment, the office furniture and the entire working environment are optimally designed for you. This means that your ergonomic office workstation is designed in such a way that you do not suffer any physical discomfort (such as back pain or a hunched back) during your predominantly sedentary work, even if you carry out the same activity every day for a long period of time. Ergonomics at the workplace is especially important when working at a computer screen, where you remain in the same pose for hours on end. When setting up your home office, you should therefore also pay attention to the right ergonomic working environment.

In short: ergonomic work is primarily designed for occupational safety, health, economy and humanity. A good thing, isn't it?!

What is ergonomics in the workplace?

Ideal working conditions in the office are not possible without ergonomics at the workplace. For the perfect design of your office, you need to consider several factors. Among others:

Ergonomics at the workplace - checklist

  • An ergonomic office chair
  • A height adjustable desk
  • An ergonomic mouse
  • An ergonomic keyboard
  • The ideal viewing distance to the screen
  • An optimal space for movement and grasping
  • The right lighting
  • The right office organisation
  • The perfect indoor climate

Ergonomics at the workplace leads to a lasting feeling of well-being at work, your productivity is increased and - most importantly - you stay healthy.

The Ergonomic Office Chair

Aeris 3Dee ergonomic office chair. Ergonomics at the workplace.
The Aeris 3Dee: For perfect ergonomics at the workplace, the right office chair is a central element.

Of course, the right office chair is the central element of ergonomic measures. They say sitting is the new smoking: That's why investing in a professional office chair is really worth it for your health in the long run. You should adjust the chair exactly to your needs. First, adjust the seat height of your office chair so that there is an "open" angle (> 90°) between your upper and lower legs when sitting. This ensures good blood circulation. Important: Do not sit at a right angle!

If you use an office chair with a backrest, make sure that it has a lumbar support. The chair must have a so-called lumbar support. This lumbar support can be adjusted to the (S-shaped) curvature of your spine. It is also important that your ergonomic office chair can be adjusted to your weight. That way it offers you maximum sitting comfort.

What do you have to look for in an ergonomic office chair?
Tip:
You can find out in detail what you need to look out for when choosing an ergonomic office chair. here in detail.

The height adjustable desk

For your ergonomically designed office, a height-adjustable desk is also of enormous importance. Because: It is essential that you keep moving regularly during work and alternate between sitting and standing. On the one hand, this alternation is good for your back and posture, and on the other hand, getting up regularly means that you don't tire so quickly. The movement stimulates your circulation and increases the oxygen saturation in your blood. You could also say that an ergonomic desk moves you.

How long should you sit at work?
Tip:
As a rule of thumb, you should spend one third of your working time standing and two thirds sitting. This has been proven to increase physical and mental performance.

The Aeris Active Office Desk is ideal for proper ergonomics in the workplace.
The Aeris Active Office Desk has a split worktop. This allows you to quickly and easily switch between sitting and standing and easily incorporate natural movement into your workday.

The picture shows with the Aeris Active Office Desk, what an ideal ergonomic sit-stand workstation looks like. However, if you only have a single desk available, make sure that it is height-adjustable so that you can easily convert it into a standing desk at the right height.

You don't have a height-adjustable desk? Then you can still do something for ergonomics at your workplace. With desk attachments, your normal desk can quickly be converted into a sit-stand desk. Admittedly, it's not the best solution, but it's better than nothing, isn't it?

The ergonomic mouse

The first "man-machine interface" at the desk is the mouse. One thing first: the ergonomic mouse is not a clumsy invention by industry to boost sales of computer mice. On the contrary: it plays a decisive role in ergonomics at the workplace. Why is that?

The unnatural, rigid hand posture for hours on end when using conventional PC mice often causes pain in the wrist and even tension in the whole arm. In particularly bad cases, this leads to complete immobility of the hand, the so-called "mouse arm" (also called RSI complaints) or to long-term chronic complaints. About 15 per cent of all office workers suffer from these problems. Among all computer users worldwide, as many as 25 per cent complain of regular wrist pain.

Work at an ergonomically designed workplace.
For correct ergonomics at the workplace, you also need an ergonomic mouse.

Ergonomic mouse prevents mouse arm

An ergonomic mouse prevents exactly this problem. Unlike normal mice, it is symmetrically shaped and assumes a vertical position of the hand. This means that the natural hand position (thumb turned upwards) is encouraged. This results in less tension in the hand muscles. Basically, the fit of an ergonomic mouse resembles a glove and is thus optimally adapted to a person's hand, allowing the hand to rest in a relaxed position. A good PC mouse contributes significantly to the productivity of employees. If you are an employer, you should definitely consider this purchase. It is worth it!

How can you recognise a good ergonomic mouse?
Tip:
Of course, ergonomic mice come in a wide variety of sizes, for left- and right-handers and with different functions and buttons. So be sure to consult an expert and compare different models with each other.

The ergonomic keyboard

The permanent use of conventional keyboards also has negative physical consequences. Painful hands and tense shoulders - caused by the rigid hand posture - are not uncommon. Anyone who sits in front of a computer all day and has to type a lot can tell you a thing or two about it. The problem: if these complaints become chronic, pain-free work is no longer possible. The error rate also increases because concentration decreases. Even if you have an ergonomic office chair for your computer workstation but do not use any ergonomic equipment, you run the risk of soon suffering from back pain. At first, the tension only starts in the wrist area. However, as the human body is very complex, the tension can quickly spread to the entire shoulder and neck area.

What are the advantages of an ergonomic keyboard?

An ergonomic keyboard. Proper ergonomics at the workplace.
With an ergonomic keyboard, like this one from Logitech, it's important that the heel of your hand rests on a cushion.

An ergonomic keyboard allows the hands to be in a natural position and allows you to work without fatigue or pain. It is important that the keyboard is curved in an A-shape (the key field is divided into one block for the left and one for the right hand) and that the heels of the hands rest on a pad.

This means that the hands are further apart and do not have to be bent. This takes a lot of pressure off your wrists. The hands are not bent outwards when writing and form a line with the forearm. This natural typing posture helps you to work in a concentrated and error-free manner without your muscles getting cramped. Even if an ergonomic keyboard costs a little more money, in the end this investment pays off not only for you but also for your employer. It can considerably reduce the number of days absent due to back pain.

What is a must for an ergonomic keyboard?
Tip: No matter which keyboard you choose, it is important that it has a cushion for the heel of your hand.

Set up the screen ergonomically

The next question you need to ask yourself for perfect ergonomics at the workplace is: What is the ergonomically correct position of the monitor? Setting up the monitor in an ergonomically correct position takes some time. Because: The most favourable position of a monitor is not the same for all people. However, a monitor that is optimally adapted to its user is ergonomically "worth its weight in gold". Eye complaints as well as head and back pain, which can be caused by an incorrect viewing distance or an unfavourable height of the monitor, are prevented.

Finding the right screen positionfor you

To find the right screen position for you, you should try out different variations. The individual positions should each be tried out for a whole day. In general, the distance to the display should be between 45 and 80 cm. In addition, the viewing angle should be between 10 and 20 degrees. Good monitors can also be adjusted in all directions. This means that they can be adjusted in height, as well as tilted and swivelled along the vertical and horizontal axis.

There are four different basic positions in which you can set up the monitor .

  • High and close: The screen is set high up (at eye level) and the viewing distance is kept close.
  • High and far: The monitor is at eye level. The viewing distance is far away. At least 70 cm
  • Low and close: The screen is positioned lower. The viewing distance is approx. 50 cm
  • Low and wide: The monitor is positioned lower and stands at a distance of approx. 70 cm. The viewing angle is approx. 15 degrees

Proper ergonomics at the workplace. Ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic mouse.
To set up your workstation ergonomically, you must also use an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. In addition, the monitor must be set up correctly for you.

How big should a monitor be?
Tip:
Use a monitor that is at least 24 inches large. This ensures a sufficiently large field of vision.

The optimal grasping and moving space

Gripping and moving space means the workspace that you can reach without having to leave your sitting or standing workstation or bend and stoop unnaturally. All work equipment that can be "grasped" with the hands horizontally or vertically in the truest sense of the word is thus located in your reach and movement area. Gripping space is also important for correct ergonomics.

Designing the inner and outer gripping space

When designing, we first distinguish between the inner and outer gripping space. The inner reach space includes everything you can reach with bent arms. The inner space should contain all objects that you use constantly or frequently. For example, your computer mouse, keyboard or telephone. The outer grasping space is the area that can be reached with an outstretched arm - but in a relaxed position! - can be reached. Ideally, only the objects you don't need all the time to work are located here. For example: Notepads, pens, hole punches and the mobile phone.

How does the grab space influence ergonomics at the workplace?

In fact, by choosing your office furniture wisely, you can positively influence the amount or size of your grab space to make your workflow as healthy as possible. This includes a workplace such as the Aeris Active Office Desk, that is not only adjustable in height, but also has two work surfaces and thus always offers a sitting and standing work surface. This significantly increases your reach and range of movement. But an office chair that actively supports your individual movements also increases your reach. Through lateral flexibility, for example, the chair always ensures an optimal posture in relation to the work surface.

Proper ergonomics at the workplace. Improved ergonomics with height-adjustable desk.
A combination of a height-adjustable desk and an ergonomic office chair like the Aeris Swopper significantly increases your reach and range of motion.

The right lighting

Of course, natural daylight is always the best for your computer workstation. However, make sure that you never place your desk in front of a window. It doesn't matter if you look at the screen from the front or over your shoulder: Avoid direct sunlight! This damages the eyes and leads to headaches in the long term.

If you use artificial light, make sure that you do not have direct lighting. Wall spots or table lamps that you can turn so that they illuminate the space indirectly are better suited.

How should the table lamp be positioned on the desk?
Tip:
Turn your table lamp so that no shadows fall on the keyboard or writing pad when writing.

The right indoor climate

Like the right lighting, a good room climate is also an important requirement in everyday working life. All the best tips and ergonomic guidelines won't help if the air in your office is thick. As a rule of thumb, the temperature at an office workplace should be at least 18°C and no more than 24°C. The average value, i.e. 21°C, is exactly right. Exactly the average value, i.e. 21°C, is optimal.



Plants help you to permanently improve the indoor climate at your workplace.
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However, the right room climate is not yet achieved with the temperature alone. Humidity also plays a major role. At a computer workstation, a humidity of between 30 and 70 percent is acceptable. Here, too, the perfect value is exactly in the middle, i.e. 50 percent.

What are the benefits of plants in the office?
Tip:
Plants help you to permanently improve the indoor climate at your workplace. Ask for advice at a specialist shop. The experts know exactly which type of plant is best in the office.

Positive consequences of ergonomics at the workplace: Fewer days absent from work

Around the world, medical experts have long agreed that ergonomics in the workplace contributes significantly to improving health. Now a study has also shown that fewer days of absence are due to ergonomics in the workplace.

The study by the international team of researchers at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam has shown that employees with chronic back pain have only half as many days of absence if their office chair is optimally adjustable to them and it is an ergonomic workplace. 134 test persons between the ages of 18 and 65 were observed. Their back pain was so severe that they were unable to go to work for an average of six months a year.

Ergonomics at the workplace means that employees have fewer days off work.
Good mood in the office: the right ergonomics at the workplace reduces the number of sick days of employees.

The subjects were divided into two groups. The first group was treated with traditional painkillers and physiotherapy. The second group received twelve months of integrated therapy, whereby especially the sitting posture at the workplace was scrutinised. With the help of an "ergonomics officer", the workplace and especially the office chairs were ergonomically designed.

The impressive result: the conventionally treated group was fit again on average only four months later than the group whose workplace was ergonomically set up. The ergonomic group was able to work full-time after 88 days, while the others were only fit for work again after 208 days.

This result clearly shows how important ergonomics at the workplace is for your health. And now that you know what to look for and what equipment you need, there's nothing standing in the way of healthy office work.

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