The way of working has changed with the ongoing pandemic leading to more people working from home. However, you may have experienced a decrease in your productivity with this way of working. It can be attributed to how your workstation is set up, especially the type of chair you use. Ergonomic chairs fulfil the basics of ergonomics and can improve your health outcomes. This, in turn, can increase work productivity significantly. Studies show that well-designed workspaces can nearly double your productivity.
Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces so that they fit the people who use them with the aim of minimising the risk of injury or harm.
What are ergonomic risk factors?
There are a set of factors that pose a potential ergonomic hazard. If ignored, they can cause physical injuries to muscles and bones. They can also cause psychological distress through fatigue and anxiety. Here are some common risk factors:
High task repetition: If a job is performed in quick cycles, lasting 30 seconds or less, it is termed a highly repetitive job. Such jobs will subject the same group of muscles to the same form of stress without giving sufficient time for recovery. It can cause inflammation, sprains, and in extreme cases, ligament tear.
Sustained Awkward postures: A position is awkward if the joints involved in it are worked outside their normal range of motion repeatedly. Awkward postures subject your joints to excessive force and overload the connected muscles and tendons.
Forceful exertions: A forceful exertion involves considerable contraction of the muscles, which causes them to fatigue rapidly. This also leads to overuse of muscles and may result in muscle strain, soreness and damage. Associated risks are inflammation, fluid build-up, and constriction of blood vessels and nerves in the affected area.
Sitting for a prolonged duration: You may be subjected to static postures if you sit for lengthy periods of time in chairs, stools, or benches that do not give enough lumbar support. If there is no backrest to your chair, you will slouch or bend forward. This forces your muscles to push the lumbar region out of its natural curve. It puts pressure on the discs and can limit blood flow to the spinal tissue. Sometimes, if the Ergonomic chairs are not properly adjusted, you may sit forward so your feet can rest on the ground. Your back never makes contact with the backrest and has no lumbar support.
How can good ergonomics affect your productivity?
An ergonomically set up workspace improves certain health outcomes. In turn, it improves your performance and efficiency.
Musculoskeletal health: Your chances of developing a muscle or skeleton related injury falls by nearly 60%. With fewer injuries and reduced fear of injuries, your work can take priority.
Enhanced energy levels: A good posture reduces the amount of fatigue your body suffers. Well placed paraphernalia – such as your monitor, keyboard and mouse – allows you to do more tasks with fewer motions.
Increases engagement: If you experience lower levels of discomfort and fatigue, your morale will increase, and you can involve yourself in your work with more gusto. A single break from your flow will cost you anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes. A comfortable workspace with easy accessibility to everything you need is one of the easiest ways to cut down on interruptions and increase your productivity.
Now that you know what benefits ergonomics can hold for you, what are some of the steps you can take to ensure your workspace is optimised for you?
- Make sure the top of your monitor is at or slightly below your eye level
- Maintain a distance of 45 to 70 cm between you and the monitor.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground
- Ensure that your forearms and hands are in a straight line
- Do not slouch; make sure your lower back is supported
- Ergonomic chairs can drastically improve your posture
With increased awareness, you can certainly improve your workspace arrangement and furniture to reap the benefits of a lean, streamlined environment. Ergonomic chairs are available in a variety of designs to suit your style. Contact your office furniture suppliers to see which chair suits your needs the best.