The objective of applying ergonomics concepts in the office is to design a work environment that adapts to the person who uses it and who allows to work comfortably to perform at maximum (productivity) and efficiently .
If you get tired when you have been sitting in your workplace for a long time or you have discomfort in the back, neck, arms or shoulders, it is very likely because your workplace has a poor design , bad postural habits or both. things.
If they are not stopped, these mild symptoms can evolve to much more important musculoskeletal disorders .
Therefore, an ergonomics program in the office should be a priority of the company to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees, eliminating or reducing the aforementioned problems. This article illustrates how to carry it out: A proactive approach to Musculoskeletal Disorders (TME) .
While promoting the implementation of such a program, under the auspices of a professional, we can follow simple indications and advice that will allow us to check if our job has a bad design and if our positions are harmful to health. In the following point guidelines will be given to review how well or badly we do it and be able to correct it.
The posture and movements that we make have to evolve to become habits , good habits. It tends to repeat the bad postures; you have to be attentive and constant so that, over time, you can establish good postural habits automatically and naturally.
In a second point of this article, several stretching exercises are proposed ; They will help us reduce fatigue and discomfort after a long time working. Remember to also hydrate yourself; drink water regularly.
Guidelines to improve ergonomics in the office
- Keep the trunk straight and vertical . Use the lumbar support of the chair (adjust it to fit your back) and do not lean more towards one of the sides. The weight of the head has to be on the neck, without stretching the head and neck forward. Move the chair to be as close as possible to the tools and objects you use; Avoid leaning or turning.
- The monitor should be directly in front (avoiding turning the head) and slightly below the level of the eyes. Without strong reflexes that make us maintain an awkward posture to see the screen read well. The distance to the monitor must be appropriate not to strain the eyes: not too close, not too far; as a reference, use the length of the arm or something else as a measure of separation.
- The feet, seated on the floor (not hanging) and flat (or on a suitable footrest). The bench of the chair should not press the back of the legs or the knees. Check that the knees are not above the hips.
- Arms supported and straight dolls . Use the armrest of the chair and rest the forearms on the table; we must avoid that they suppose a continuous weight to the column. The upper part of the armrests and elbows should be close to the body, not separated from it. The position of the keyboard and mouse have to allow the wrists are aligned with the forearm (straight) and not need postures that cause us a frequent effort.
- Maintain a comfortable posture when talking on the phone . Avoid holding the phone or the headset between the head and neck. Do not twist the body or the head while we talk. It is advisable to use helmets that are comfortable. The phone’s keypad does not have to be far away or make us turn the body or lean; and more, if we use it often.
- Have enough space to move . Your feet, knees and legs have to be comfortable, with enough amplitude to not feel imprisoned when sitting. The chair must be able to turn without obstructions, without your body colliding with other elements.
Perform stretching and relaxation exercises
You should not stay for long periods without moving from the chair; It is convenient to have rest periods and stretch . You will fatigue less and suffer less discomfort in the back, neck and joints. Do not forget to also drink water to stay hydrated .
We propose several simple exercises:
- Slowly move the head left and right successively as you can, without feeling discomfort or forcing it. Press lightly with your hand in the opposite direction to the one with your head turned.
- Make rotations with the head ; several in the sense of the hands of the clock and other so many in the other sense.
- Lower your head and press your chin forward . Hold and release. Without grimacing with your nose!
- Make circles with the shoulders forward. Then, backwards.
- Shrug your shoulders : Gently raise your shoulders towards the ears and hold for a few seconds. Gradually, go lowering your shoulders and relax.
- Push your elbows back , noticing how there is pressure on the shoulder blades. Hold for a few seconds and bookcase.
- Stretch up : Sit up straight and gradually stretch your upper body to get as high as possible. Hold the position for a few seconds.
- Relaxation shoulders . Drop your arms and hands to the sides of your body. Gently shake them for a few seconds.
- Flexion of dolls . With your elbows resting on the table, use your left hand to gently twist your right hand back towards the forearm. Hold for a few seconds. Do it again by exchanging hands.
- Rotations with the feet . Make circles slowly with each foot in one direction; then, in the other.
- Circles with the eyes . Move your eyes in circles briefly in a clockwise direction. Then, in the opposite direction.
It may seem complicated and laborious to perform the whole series of exercises proposed. But, once you have practiced them several times, you will see that they are very simple, they will occupy you brief minutes and they will help you a lot .
It is important to take care of ergonomics in the office and that your workplace is designed correctly ; It is also important to monitor postural habits . With this, you will reduce fatigue as well as mitigate discomfort in the back, neck, arm and shoulders; These discomforts can get worse and turn into musculoskeletal disorders if relevant changes are not implemented.
Apart from the fact that the company can establish programs to
proper ergonomics, everyone can check if their work environment has points in which it is necessary to make corrections and postural habits to amend .
It is very advisable to rest every so often and perform stretching and relaxation exercises .
The result will be a better job done and done more efficiently, with less fatigue and stop suffering frequent discomforts: more health for the employee and more productivity for the company .
Finally: Do not forget to hydrate yourself!