New ways of working have given way to a new normal for employees in all industries. And many are realizing that once-temporary set-ups (and habits) need to change to revitalize your workday.
Checking emails on the couch, leading a virtual call hunched over a laptop at the kitchen table or even working back at your corporate office in a shared workspace can leave you uncomfortable, tired and uninspired.
No matter where you work, your workspace should fuel a productive workday and even a new sense of energy. Our checklist will help you assess your current set-up and help you identify ways to improve the ergonomics to work more vibrantly.
Why Ergonomics Matters
Ergonomics is all about fitting a task to you and not the other way around. It’s a simple premise with a big impact on your body and mind. An ergonomic workspace is designed to keep you energized, minimize discomfort and avoid injuries. This ultimately support job satisfaction, productivity and the quality of your work.
With more people working from home, musculoskeletal and mental health concerns are on the rise. In one study, 70% of employees reported musculoskeletal pain. Another study noted that 46% of employees said their mental health has declined.
Ergonomics sets the foundation for how you feel wherever you work. It can propel you to conquer a new challenge or if disregarded, potentially lead to aches and pains and hinder your overall health.
Your Ergonomic Checklist
To regain feel-good energy during your workday, ensure you and your workspace—temporary or permanent—follow this checklist:
√ Your screen height is at eye level.
For the most comfortable viewing, keep your monitor at or slightly below eye level and about an arm’s length away. Avoid looking down or up at your screen to help protect your neck.
√ Your feet are flat on the floor.
When your feet rest naturally on the floor, you support your body’s neutral posture. Dangling feet can lead to lower back pain, so if needed, invest in a simple foot stool for the extra height.
√ Your chair is adjustable.
Ditch the kitchen chair for an ergonomic chair that offers multiple adjustment points. The right chair height is key to many items on this checklist, and other adjustments can provide a personalized fit that bolsters your overall well-being.
√ Your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
This is another important element of neutral posture. Your elbows should stay close to your core and your arms should be at a 90-degree angle when working at your computer. Wrists should always stay flat as you type.
√ You use a drop-down keyboard.
Your keyboard height should be roughly the same height at your elbows. That means most worksurfaces are too high to be considered ergonomic (especially laptops). Purchase an add-on, back-tilt keyboard tray that sits below your worksurface.
√ Your main items are in the primary zone.
Take an inventory of all desk items, including your mouse, printer, notebooks and files. Keep your most used items closest in your primary zone followed by less commonly used items in your secondary and tertiary zones. That will help prevent unintended tweaks to your neck and back (and help you stay organized).
Don’t forget, even the most ergonomic workspace can leave you tired if you stay in the same spot for too long. Follow the Sit-Stand Switch™ and be sure to move every 30 minutes.
Design a Vibrant Workspace
Remote work has directly impacted wellness and engagement. Use these tools and resources to build an ergonomic workspace that inspires your best work and fuels a collaborative team spirit.