Much More Than Just Sitting Comfortably: The Importance of Workplace Ergonomics

We’ve all been there: back aching, shoulders tense, hunched in front of our computers for hours at a time. These working conditions might only seem like a minor discomfort and inconvenience, but the consequences of bad posture can have long term effects, not only your body and mind, but your business too.

Did you know that an average of 31 million days of work are lost each year due to back, neck and muscle problems? A large proportion of absenteeism can be attributed to poor posture in the workplace. Things are looking up, however: wellbeing and mindfulness measures are becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace which should (we hope) spark a big change in these statistics for the years to come. But let’s not rest on our laurels just yet; there are still some important steps you can take in the workplace to improve posture, reduce stress, and increase productivity.

 

First, let’s get comfy

Muscle and joint pain made up 44% of work-related health complaints over the last year. Millions of Brits are spending up to eight hours a day sat at their desks, making it easy to gradually slip into bad posture habits – especially when dealing with everyday work stress. However, simple changes to your workstation can make a big difference:

 

  • raise the top of your monitor to eye-level
  • ensure your monitor is no more than an arm’s length away
  • reduce the glare on your screen with anti-glare filters when needed
  • use a document holder in line with your screen
  • centre your monitor & keyboard in front of you so you don’t have to turn your head

Other simple and cost-effective solutions such as wrist and keyboard supports, laptop raisers or monitor arms reduce stress and prevent conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries.

Footrests reduce strain throughout your entire body, helping you find the optimal position for your body. For more information on working safely with Display Screen Equipment (DSE) check out the HSE website.

 

Then, reduce your costs (really)

When it comes to investing in ergonomics, the benefits to your business far outweigh the initial costs of sourcing and installing the right products. A good ergonomic workstation is not only an investment in your business but your most important asset: your people. With a comfortable, improved working environment bringing happier, healthier and more motivated employees, you can look forward to increased job satisfaction, engagement and productivity for the people who matter most.  

 

Feelings of wellbeing all-round

Applying ergonomics to the design of your workplace can do wonders for team wellbeing. We are all aware that walks in the fresh air and taking regular breaks away from the computer can help improve overall productivity, but it’s also important to consider what goes on while actually at your workstation.

 

 

In 2017-2018 there were 156,000 workers suffering from a new case of work-related musculoskeletal disorders, and 6.6million days lost for the same reason (see HSE website), making it imperative that employers improve their working environments for the better.

At Ben Johnson our innovative, stylish, high-quality ergonomic chairs are designed to provide outstanding support and a high level of adjustability. This enables you to get the chair to ‘fit’ your best seating position. If you’re not sure what to look for in an ergonomic chair, here are some pointers:

 

Image of blue orthopaedic chair
  • Chairs should have a dynamic (moveable) back rest that flexes with you as you shift around.
  • Seat height should enable your feet to rest flat on the floor, not too high so they’re dangling, or too low that you’re stretching out across the floor.
  • Make sure you are sat with the base of your back against the back rest, and the seat positioned so that the backs of your calves aren’t pressed against the front of the seat. Some chairs have sliding seat pads to ensure you can position this correctly.
  • Your arms should be supported at all times (whether with chair arms, or on the desk). Your shoulders should not be hunched up (meaning your arm rests are too high), nor should you have to slouch to rest your elbow. Aim for a right angle between your lower and upper arms.

 

Not all chairs are made equal: some have a small range of adjustable factors, others cater for the full gamut of requirements from height, weight, build and usage, allowing the operator to achieve their ideal seating position.

 

If you’re ready to upgrade your workplace seating and your performance, contact Fran using the form below, or call 01904 698 698. 

image of black and chrome ergonomic office chair

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Fran RutherfordSales Support Manager

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