There are some simple mistakes that many people make when considering ergonomic office design – whether a newbie or a pro. Being aware of these mistakes can help ensure you don’t make them when it comes your turn to create an ergonomic space:
1. Ignoring Ergonomics
- Don’t ignore the benefits! Make an ergonomics workshop a requirement that your employees have to complete as part of their training.
- Enforce it! Implement policies and procedures that encourage good ergonomic behaviour.
- Make sure you set up ergonomic workstations that are aligned with your policy.
2. Relying on “Ergonomic” Products
- Note: There is no legislation over the use of the word ergonomic.
- Buy ergonomic products that are popular and have lasted through the years and multiple reviews.
3. Avoiding Warning Signs
- RSI (repetitive strain injury) comes from repeating tasks that are awkward on your body. If you feel uncomfortable in your common movements, it could be a sign of RSI.
- It is not just physical labour that is dangerous, but even the small movements of a mouse or typing on a keyboard.
- Don’t ignore discomfort in your body. As a short term measure, take a break. Get some expert advice and get your workstation better ergonomically set up.
4. Relying on Ergonomic Rules Exclusively
- Ergonomics is not just about the set-up of your desk. Repeating any task, even with a great workspace setup, is going to strain your body.
- Often when a desk is ergonomically set up, workers will perform tasks for longer because they don’t feel the strain. Even if you’ve been sitting in a comfortable position all day, your body will be stiff. This is actually the most common time that you’ll injure yourself.
- Get up and move regularly! Walk around the office, or get a drink from the water cooler. Anything that gets you out of the same position will help get the blood flowing.
5. Forgetting About Eyesight
- You can’t see the eye muscles, so they are often forgotten about.
- Staring at a screen all day means that you are focusing on a point at a fixed distance, often with a fixed brightness.
- For the same reason that you should get out of your seat and move, you should also give your eyes a break.
- Every few minutes stare at something in the distance. Every five minutes, stare at something further away for at least ten seconds. Take advantage of board rooms or meeting spaces that aren’t being used, turn off the lights, and take a short break.