People spend the bulk of their days seated behind their desk at work. With continuous use of the phones and computers, employees are at risk for repetitive motion distress. This causes muscle pain in the neck, arms, hands and back.
Good ergonomic office furniture is now a must in the workplace. Giving employees the proper tools lowers the claims for office related injuries and makes them more productive. It may cost more upfront to buy ergonomic office furniture, but it is a wise investment in the long run. Here's what to look for.
1. Determine how the space is to be used.
What kind of work is done in a particular cubicle? The activity will determine what furniture and ergonomic supplies you will need to purchase.
2. Get the best ergonomic chair you can afford.
You will spend the bulk of your time on this chair so it has to be comfortable. It's best to get an adjustable chair so a variety of people can use it. Check the following features:
- The height of the chair should be adjustable depending on who will sit on the chair. If you are working on a computer, your arms should rest at a 90-degree angle. If you are petite and need to raise your chair to achieve the proper desk height, put a footrest on the ground. Your feet should be flat on the floor and not dangle.
- The seat should be wide enough for you to sit comfortably. There should be some space on the sides. You should be able to lean back fully on the backrest. If the seat is too deep, place a back pillow to give your back proper lumbar support.
- The armrests should not be too far away from you when seated. The armrests should feel cushioned. Your shoulders should not be scrunched up while your arms are rested on the sides.
- The backrest should provide good support. A tall back is ideal so you can lean back and rest your head and neck as well.
3. The desk should be at a height where the user can rest his arms at a 90-degree angle.
Since most office tables are either built in or just can't be adjusted, the chair will be the one to be moved. However, the desk should have space that lets you place items that are within easy reach. The keyboard should be near the edge of the table. You don't want to reach forward to type things.
4. Don't buy furniture based on the color or style.
Ergonomic office furniture should be primarily comfortable for the user to help prevent fatigue and work related injury. Fortunately, these come in varying styles that can suit any office design.
5. Check product reviews before buying.
Check online for comparisons and reviews of chairs, ergonomic keyboards and other ergonomic apparatus. If possible, test out the items before making the purchase.
Ergonomic products are slightly more expensive than regular office furniture. However, it is well worth the investment. In the long run, keeping employees happy and healthy increases productivity, lowers absences and decreases office injury insurance claims. If you can only splurge on one item, make it the office chair.
If you have concerns about your workstation, consult with your office administrator. He should have information available to help your space more ergonomic. You can also check with the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration website for more information.