Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. The goal is to help people create habitats and systems that fit their needs. Ergonomics strives to enhance general efficiency and productivity daily and alleviate workplace discomfort.
Why is it important?
Having a comfortable workplace helps take a little stress away and allows us to perform our best. With Covid protocols, and even without, veterinarians are on the phone a lot! Now more than ever, vets get stuck sitting answering phones or standing helping pets for hours. This can be hard on our bodies, causing tension and stress. Being a vet is already a tough job, so optimizing our workplace ergonomics helps make the day a little easier.
How to create an ergonomic workplace
Everyone has different needs and preferences. Building your optimal workplace can take time, but we are here to help! Here are five easy ways to help make your workplace ergonomic.
- Spine Support
Investing in a good chair and standing mat is crucial for spine support. Your office chair should provide plentyof back support. The chair cushions should follow the curves of your back and give an ample amount of lumbar support. The best chairs tend to be highly adjustable, so you can ensure your knees are level with your hips and your lower back has plenty of support. For the times you choose to stand, a well-cushioned mat can help lessen the pressure on your back and joints.
- Proper Keyboard & Display Setup
With the wrong keyboard and display setup, your shoulders tend to hunch up and leave your neck strained. Proper work equipment can help broaden your shoulders and relieve the tension. Most keyboards are narrow and force your hands inward, so your shoulders are up to your chin. Split keyboards help widen your shoulder placement, so they align along the side of your body. Neck tension can also come from sitting too close or too far from your screen. Place your display about arm’s length away, and make sure the top of the screen comes about 2 to 3 inches above eye level.
- Adjustable Desk
Adjustable desks are the new must-have office supply, and they should be! An adjustable standing desk can help get you into the best position for your body. You can raise or lower the desk in increments and easily switch between sitting and standing at regular intervals throughout the day. Remember to adjust your desk so your wrist can be straight and your hands are at or below your elbow while standing or sitting.
- Good lighting!
Did you know that good lighting can reduce eye and neck straining? Under poor lighting, we tend to squint our eyes and position our necks in unnatural hunched positions. Natural light is always the best because it can help improve your sense of well-being and energy. Daylight and access to outside views provide your eyes a chance to relax and recover from the strain of staring at a monitor all day. If you don’t have windows or good natural light in your workspace, use overhead and task lighting to keep you focused and reduce strain.
- Stress Reducers
Headphones, diffusers, plants, knick-knacks, anything that brings you joy and peace are great to keep in your workspace! It’s easy to get so caught up in work that you don’t stop to pause and take a deep breath for yourself. Having items that you enjoy around can help remind you to stop, even if only for a minute or two.
Building the optimal ergonomic space for you will take time, but it will be worth it once you get there. We spend most of our days working, so why not make the most out of your space!