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Workstation Ergonomics

We are all spending more and more time sat in front of our computers as we increasingly live our lives online. We want to improve our knowledge, our circle of friends, our career prospects, and who has not visited the internet to check symptoms relating to their health?

But have you ever stopped to think that all that time online at your desk, might actually be damaging your health?

Few of us think about how we work – speed is all that seems to matter. But if we just took a little time thinking about the basic essentials such as chairs and desks, we could save ourselves countless problems down the line, especially as thousands of people now actually work at home and have the job of setting up their own offices themselves.

Workstation ergonomics is a phrase with which you might be familiar in an office environment. Basically it means the science of work – helping you to work more comfortably and efficiently.
Here at ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions we can help make that a reality, whether you employ staff in an office or you are an individual who works from home or just enjoys spending time in front of a computer for your personal use.

Our high quality used office furniture has all been ergonomically tested to help you set up a healthy workspace environment.
Our environmentally friendly product range includes desks and chairs to equip any size or shape of office, public or private, and we will also help you reconfigure your office space to fulfill your needs, employing simple, inexpensive principles that will help you create a safe and comfortable computer workstation for yourself or staff.

There is no single ‘correct’ posture for everyone but we have researched the most efficient arrangement of workspace components to minimise the risk of long-term harm from extended computer use and we employ a simple design approach to improve any workspace.

We understand the concept of neutral body positioning. This is a comfortable working posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. Working with the body in a neutral position reduces stress and strain on the muscles, tendons, and skeletal system and reduces your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder.

The following are important considerations when attempting to maintain neutral body postures while working at the computer workstation:

  • Hands, wrists, and forearms are straight, in-line and roughly parallel to the floor.
  • Head is level, or bent slightly forward, forward facing, and balanced. Generally it is in-line with the torso.
  • Shoulders are relaxed and upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.
  • Elbows stay in close to the body and are bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
  • Feet are fully supported by the floor or a footrest may be used if the desk height is not adjustable.
  • Back is fully supported with appropriate lumbar support when sitting vertical or leaning back slightly.
  • Thighs and hips are supported by a well-padded seat and generally parallel to the floor.
  • Knees are about the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward.

Staff at ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions have grasped this idea and will work with you to create a healthy office to your specifications using our as new, used office furniture – helping you and helping the environment with our strong recycling ethos.

We know that to be ergonomically sound, office furniture should not have sharp edges. We will provide you with rounded desktop edges so that if your wrist comes into contact with the edge of the desk, there is a reduced chance of contact stress which causes tingling and sore fingers.

Today’s furniture must be ‘technology friendly’ – able to incorporate computers, printers, telephones, as well as document holders and files.

Here at ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions we will advise you NOT to just sit your computer and other components on a desk. We will explain that a good workstation ergonomic arrangement will allow any computer user to work in a neutral, relaxed, ideal typing posture that will minimise the risk of developing any injury, commonly back or neck pain, tendonitis in the wrists or carpal tunnel syndrome.

And we will ensure all the furniture we recycle can ‘manage’ your wires in a safe and discreet manner to ensure you do not fall foul of health and safety measures.

When setting up a work area, ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions recommends you ensure that the space is large enough for you to spread out comfortably and allows for a full range of motion, which can be a special concern for those with especially long limbs. You should also leave plenty of room to arrange the items you use most frequently in such a way that there is no strain for you to reach them. Arrange your electronics within your reach and making sure that the area underneath your desk remains uncluttered.

Where you place your keyboard and how you use it can greatly affect your risk for getting RSI (repetitive stress injuries) like carpal tunnel syndrome. Your keyboard should be placed so that your arms are parallel to your thighs. If your desk doesn't allow for this, try getting a keyboard tray.

When setting up your desk, make sure to keep your mouse easily within reach and try not to grip it too tightly, as doing so can strain the muscles in your hand.

Improperly configured monitors can cause a great deal of eyestrain, resulting in headaches and difficulty concentrating. Place your monitor in front of you at a comfortable distance, and adjust the brightness settings so that it’s easy on your eyes. Make sure to take breaks from staring at your screen, too. Glare can be a problem and if you can't seem to eliminate it, use a glass glare filter. Common office lighting can often create a great deal of eyestrain by making your computer monitor difficult to see. Adjust your blinds or lights as much as you can to reduce glare, and position your monitor at such an angle to light sources that reflection is reduced. It can be helpful to keep overhead lights dimmed and use a desk lamp for close work.

It can be tempting to multitask and cradle your phone receiver between your neck and shoulder. However, this should be avoided, as it can create a great deal of strain in your neck muscles. If you need to have your hands free, try using a headset or put the call on speakerphone to reduce the chances of longer term damage.

Your desk should provide a stable working surface (nothing that wobbles) with adequate room for proper arrangement. If this work surface is going to be used for writing on paper as well as computer use a flat surface that is between 28"-30" above the floor (suitable for most adults). ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions stocks a large number of high quality desks for you to choose from to suit your office needs, at home or work.
Desk surfaces that are too high or too low may lead to awkward postures, such as extended arms to reach the keyboard, and raised shoulders.

ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions will work with you to suggest inserting stable risers such as boards or concrete blocks under the desk legs if necessary, removing drawers to create extra leg space, lower work surfaces by cutting off desk legs if required and providing foot rests to encourage better posture.

ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions cannot stress enough the importance of investing in a good quality chair. We supply a wide range of comfortable and practical used office chairs, all in excellent condition and ergonomically, as well as environmentally, friendly.

Choose a comfortable chair for the user to sit in. If only one person is using this, the chair can even be at a fixed height providing that it is comfortable to sit on and has a good backrest that provides lumbar support. If more than one person will be using the computer, consider buying a chair with several ergonomic features. Increased adjustability ensures a better fit for the user, provides adequate support in a variety of sitting postures and allows variability of sitting positions throughout the workday.

Studies show that the best seated posture is a reclined posture of 100-110 degrees NOT the upright 90 degree posture that is often portrayed. Erect sitting is NOT relaxed, sustainable sitting, reclined sitting is.

Having armrests on a chair can be helpful to aid getting into and getting out of the chair. Also, the armrests can be useful for the occasional resting of the arms (e.g. when on the phone, sitting back relaxing). However, it is not a good idea to permanently wrest the forearms on armrests while you are typing or using the mouse as this can compress muscles and nerves. Ideally, it should be easy to get the armrests out of the way when you need to have free access to the keyboard and mouse.

These days most office chairs have armrests and many of them have adjustable height armrests, so look for a chair that is a comfortable fit to you and that has broader, flatter, padded armrests that you can easily move out of the way if needed is the best approach.

Using a chair with a seat that is too high may force you to work with your feet unsupported or encourage you to move forward in the chair to a point where your back is unsupported making it more difficult to maintain the S-shape of the spine. These awkward postures can lead to fatigue, restricted circulation, swelling, numbness, and pain.

Inappropriate choice of casters, or a chair without casters, can make positioning the chair in relation to the desk difficult. This increases reaching and bending to access computer components, which can lead to muscle strain, and fatigue.

To ensure that the chair will provide adequate support, it is important that you try out different chairs before purchasing one. Visit us at ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions to try out different style of chair and find the one that best suits your needs.

As an individual, you can arrange your work habits so that you don't put undue stress on any part of your body. Make sure to take frequent breaks, get up and walk around, and change positions frequently so that repetitive tasks and static work won't take their tolls.

The more hours you spend at a computer, the greater your risk of developing a computer-related injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tenosynovitis, and bursitis. Computer use can also contribute to back pain, headaches, and eye strain. Prevention is better than cure, so it's worth taking the time now to learn about ergonomics.

Visit us at ONCEnvironmental Office Furniture Solutions to discuss your office requirements and we will help you configure your new ergonomic workplace from our broad range of good value, high quality, as new, environmentally friendly used office furniture.