Have you ever noticed how tight and painful your neck, upper back and shoulders are after a long day of sitting at the computer? Better ergonomics can help you avoid much of this pain and tightness.
Better Ergonomics Reduce Stress
There are a number of factors that contribute to this tightness. Simply the stress of deadlines, an overbearing boss or an annoying co-worker can make your shoulders rise up and your head push forward. These physical responses are the result of just the emotional stress of work. When you add the real physical strains of a poorly designed work station on top of the emotional stresses that already exist you have a perfect recipe for a repetitive stress injury. There is a good argument for better ergonomics.
A large part of designing a workstation with better ergonomics revolves around limiting the “reach” for items that are frequently accessed.
The distance that you have to reach for any object in your workspace can have major implications on your health. In general, workers should have the items that they use on a regular basis through the day such as the mouse and keyboard for computer users or the telephone for a receptionist or a sales person, positioned close to their bodies so as to avoid awkward or overreaching. This concept is a basic principle behind better ergonomics.
As a general rule, the best positioning for your keyboard and mouse allows you to operate them while your shoulders hang straight down at your sides and elbows are slightly extended. This position reduces the stress of overreaching and allows for completion of your tasks with less muscular effort.
There are many ergonomic apparatus that allow for proper placement of your computer input devices. Pull out keyboard trays, split keyboards, mouse platforms and even foot controls help reduce the ongoing stresses of computer input.
Even with these devices, it takes awareness to create better ergonomics in your work environment.