Having a small business means your work is never done, which translates into long hours sitting at a desk. This can often lead to workplace injuries and muscle fatigue. Back, neck and wrist pain are common complaints of many entrepreneurs, small business owners and their employees. Pain affects more than just your body. Having an uncomfortable office set-up reduces your productivity and enthusiasm, impacts your work and can even cause permanent damage to your health. Carpal-tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tension neck syndrome and ruptured discs can all be caused by a poorly designed workspace. But workplace injuries can be reduced or even prevented with correct workplace ergonomics.
Every person is built differently and thus the standard office configuration may not be the ‘right fit’ for some people. By using a proper ergonomic system to tailor a workspace to an individual, you can improve the comfort, safety and quality of work for your business.
Here are seven steps to create an ergonomic workplace.
1. Start with Your Chair
Your chair can make the difference between injury and efficiency. Pick a chair with adjustable features that can be personalized to your body, and then adjust the rest of your workstation components and materials to your new sitting position. Look for a chair with customizable seat height, seat pan depth, backrest height and armrest height and position.
- Feet should be supported by being placed flat on the floor or on a footrest
- Knees should be at approximately a 90 degree angle with thighs parallel to the floor
- Sit at the back of the seat towards the backrest of the chair
- Seat should support hips and thighs with a 2-4 finger-width space between the edge of the seat and back of the knees
- Lumbar support should fit the natural curve of the lower back
- Armrests should support forearms with shoulders relaxed and elbows at approximately a 90-100 degree angle
2. Place Your Keyboard and Mouse Correctly
- Elbows should be at approximately a 90 degree angle with forearms supported by armrests
- Elbows should be in a relaxed position when using the keyboard and mouse
- Wrist rests should only used when not typing
3. Adjust Your Monitor to Reduce Neck Pain
- Maintain a neutral head position as much as possible
- If using one monitor, place it directly in front of you at approximately an arm’s length away
- If using dual monitors, they may need to be placed slightly father back
- Dual monitors should be angled with the far right and left ends of the monitors angled towards you and the centre positioned farther back to form a “V” shape
- Direct line-of-sight should be the top third of text
4. Hold Your Telephone Right
- If the telephone is used frequently, use a headset
- Avoid holding the telephone between the ear and shoulder
5. Adjust Your Office Supplies
- Avoid repetitive reaching by placing frequently used materials within easy reach
- Choose office supplies with ergonomic features, such as pens with cushions and low pressure staplers
6. Use a Document Holder
- If you frequently refer to paper documents, use a document holder
7. Take a Walk
- Remember to take breaks and get up and move for about five minutes out of every hour
Take a moment to ensure your workspace is ergonomically correct. Adjust your chair, move your monitors and stretch your legs. These small changes will increase your productivity, improve your product or service and most importantly, protect the health and safety of you and your employees.
Want to know more? Take advantage of Small Business BC’s wide selection of seminars for entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized business owners. Space is limited, so don’t miss your chance to register today.
Plus, don’t forget that you can meet one-on-one with an expert to get specific information that applies to your business by booking an appointment with Small Business BC’s Ask the Expert service now.