There are simple yet effective office ergonomics checklist that you can carry out at your workstation, to make sure you’re comfortable, safe and productive at the office.
1. Posture – Activity – Exercise
- Maintain proper posture, paying careful attention to positioning of head, neck/spine, arms/wrists, hips/thighs and feet. Basically, ensure the small of your back is supported, your shoulders relaxed (not slumped, not elevated), and that there is no pressure under your thighs.
- Alternate between different postures on a regular basis.
- When keyboarding, use minimum force while striking the keys.
- Keep a neutral position, where the forearms, wrists and hands are in a straight line.
- Avoid awkward reaching for work tools such as telephone, mouse and reference materials.
- Avoid resting elbows, forearms or wrists on hard surfaces or sharp edges.
- Take frequent mini-breaks throughout the day to give muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover.
- Alternate between work activities which use different muscle groups to avoid overuse.
- Give eyes a break by closing them momentarily, gazing at a distant object and blinking frequently.
- Proper exercises are a complement to a complete office ergonomics program. Consult with us to select appropriate exercises.
2. Lighting – Air – Noise
- Maintain appropriate light levels for specific tasks. More illumination is usually needed to read a document than a computer screen.
- Reduce or eliminate glare by using window shades, diffusers on overhead lighting and anti-glare filters for computers.
- Adjust the contrast and brightness on your computer screen to a comfortable level.
Get a regular eye exam and if necessary, wear corrective lenses. Tell your eye specialist how often you use the computer.
- Clean the computer screen and other surfaces regularly.
- Reduce the number of dust collecting items like papers and files on your desk.
- If necessary, use a portable air cleaner to reduce airborne particles like dust, pollen and mold.
- Maintain a comfortable temperature by using layers of clothing or a portable fan or heater.
- Be considerate to others working in the area and conduct meetings and conversations in appropriate areas.
- Position fabric partitions to reduce noise from conversations, foot traffic and equipment, like copiers and printers.
- Identify distracting noises and try headphines, ear plugs, soft music or a quiet fan to reduce or mask the noise.
3. Work Style – Organization – Breaks
- Reduce stress by planning ahead and setting realistic expectations for what you can accomplish during the workday.
- Organize your workload to help even out busy and slow times, to avoid feeling “swamped”.
- Vary tasks to make the day more interesting. For example, deliver a message in person instead of phoning.
- Avoid long periods of repetitive activity. For example, alternate computer work with other tasks like phone calls, filing, copying and meetings.
- Organize equipment, supplies and furniture in the most efficient arrangement for daily tasks.
- Enhance privacy by using office partitions and privacy filters for computer screens or documents.
- Acknowledge ideas and accomplishments of co-workers on a regular basis.
- Develop stress reduction and relaxation techniques which work for you at the office and at home.
- Personalize your office with a few favorite items, like artwork, photos and plants.
- Take mini-breaks that re-energize, invigorate and refresh.
- Follow these same ergonomic guidelines at home, in meetings and while travelling.