The conditions of your workspace can affect your productivity levels and health. If your desk setup isn’t designed for ergonomics, it could lead to severe postural defects, job dissatisfaction, and even physical injuries. An ergonomic workspace or study area comes with a lot of benefits, which is why you should understand how to create the best ergonomic desk setup for you.
In this article, you’ll find out what makes an ergonomic desk setup effective for your home or central workspace. You’ll also get useful tips on how to create the best ergonomic desk setup for your specific job or study patterns. Regardless of your budget, you’ll find out how to make a custom ergonomic workspace by choosing the right technical and non-technical items for it.
What Makes an Ergonomic Desk Setup Effective?
An ergonomic desk setup is effective because it prevents you from unnecessary strain and accidents. Ergonomic workstations are designed for comfort and efficiency. For desk users, applying an ergonomic design to a workspace improves communication and physical engagement with work, which leads to an increase in quality of work and productivity levels.
Placement of Work Equipment to Suit Your Body
The principle of ergonomics prioritizes the correct height and posture of a user in an office setup. Whether you’re working from home or in a shared office, your chair, table, and desktop height and distance should be fitted to your body. Using a larger screen and detachable keyboard allows you to reduce the strain on your eyes and hands from working long hours.
Reduced Physical and Health Hazards
Using computers for long hours can lead to a wide variety of health problems. According to a survey by Statista, visual disabilities are prevalent among members aged 21 to 64 of the labor market. To risk fewer physical or health issues, design your work area ergonomically by having good lighting and chairs and desks that provide body support and relieve physical pressure.
Working in a confined area is not ideal. A lack of mobility around your workspace can limit your blood flow and cause physical injuries. Repetitive motions over a long period of time can lead to swelling. If you work in software engineering, accounting, or web development, a desk setting where you can stretch your legs and spin is better, as your job requires you to sit for long hours.
How to Create an Ergonomic Desk Setup: 5 Top Tips
Choose the Right Location
There are many factors to consider when creating an ergonomic setup for your workspace, with your goal being comfort and proximity. If you’re in the information technology or cyber security industry working with multiple screens, consider choosing a quiet environment with natural light, rather than fluorescent lights that can cause eye irritation, and that is neither hot nor cold.
Consider Your Work Habits and Body
Having an understanding of your body posture and work habits will help you design your workspace. If you’re sitting for long hours or have poor posture, get a chair and desk with a design that reduces neck strain and helps with posture. If you type for long hours, increasing your desk height to allow wrist rest or getting laptop risers so you don’t bend your wrist are good ideas.
Get the Right Work Tools
To encourage a neutral posture, an adjustable desk and ergonomic office chair that have the right seat depth and upright position are ideal. Bad posture leads to eye strain, muscle strain, and neck pain. A desktop is better than a laptop when working long hours.
If you don’t have a desktop, an external keyboard and keyboard tray will help prevent any wrist pain or the development of symptoms related to carpal tunnel syndrome. If you can, go for an adjustable height desk over a non-adjustable desk. If your desk doesn’t come with them, consider purchasing footrests.
Set Up Your Equipment Properly
Sitting in a neutral position will help you focus and deliver quality work. To reduce eye fatigue, your desktop or laptop screen should be at a 90-degree angle and over 15 inches away from your eyes. Your keyboard should be up to four inches away from your hands. You need a space on the table to rest your elbows. If you can, get a desk with a storage section and footrest.
Create a Healthy Work Schedule
Your ergonomic efforts won’t make much of a difference if you work for long hours without a break, even with comfortable chairs and good lighting. Stretch your muscles to avoid muscle fatigue. Take regular breaks from time to time to not accumulate pressure on your eyes and promote blood circulation. Lack of circulation can cause swelling and high blood pressure.
5 Things You Should Invest in When Designing Your Ergonomic Workspace
When setting up your desk space, you should purchase items that facilitate a healthy posture and comfortable position. If you’re not familiar with what an ergonomic setup for a home or central office looks like, you can always outsource to a professional designer. If this is too expensive, this list will be enough to help you start setting up your ergonomic desk space.
Technical Items to Consider
- Desktop. A desktop is ideal for ergonomics because it requires detachable accessories and has a large screen which tends to be more ergonomic. Purchasing a higher-end desktop is more affordable than a laptop with the same specs. If you’ll be sitting for long hours, a desktop is a better option. Make sure its specs can handle your work tasks.
- Ergonomic Mouse. An ergonomic mouse reduces discomfort and prevents conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and other musculoskeletal problems. An ergonomic mouse is designed to properly fit your hands and wrists. If you can’t afford an ergonomic branded mouse, a wireless mouse can allow more freedom than a wired one.
- Ergonomic Keyboard. An ergonomic keyboard reduces stress on the hands and wrists brought on by typing for long hours. The keys are evenly spaced to ensure a positive typing experience. You can decide between split, angled, handheld, or contoured ergonomic keyboards, which are all good options.
- Laptop. You can add a laptop to your desk setup if you multitask or want more mobility. Laptops can be more convenient and, depending on the type of work you do, equally suitable for complex computations, even for machine learning professionals.
- Ergonomic Accessories. Some desk accessories, such as wireless headphones to take or make calls, a wireless printer, laptop risers to prevent you from bending over, a document holder, monitor arms, keyboard trays, and a wireless charger could be great additions to your ergonomic setup. These accessories promote increased functionality.
Non-Technical Items to Consider
- Ergonomic Chair. An ergonomic chair is designed to provide bodily support. They usually come with adjustable seat heights, lumbar area support, and soft cushions. Their base also promotes mobility, as they can be swiveled or rolled. They also come with adjustable headrests, armrests, and footrests.
- Ergonomic Desk. As long as your desk is the right height and has sturdy legs, it is good enough. You can customize your desk pad to support your technical accessories. If you get a storage setting under your desk, make sure it doesn’t affect your leg mobility. If you can’t find a desk that fits your height and posture, many retailers offer customizable ones.
- Plants. Plants are great accessories for office spaces and help increase productivity. They add more than just aesthetics to your desk setup. They can improve air quality and reduce other environmental hazards. Plants such as succulents, zamioculcas, and jade plants are great for your office space, as they don’t need much natural light.
- Lamp. Having a table or wall lamp around your desk area is essential. Lamps provide you with a controlled and less invasive light and help reduce your level of eye strain and neck strain. Lamps can improve your visual accuracy, as they can be focused on a particular area, and even add aesthetic features to the ergonomic design of your workspace.
- Overhead Board and Shelf. An overhead board or shelf lets you store useful items including work and personal items. You could keep books, pictures, stationery, and sticky notes on your board or shelf. You could even use your shelf to hold your trash to avoid having to bend or stand up any time you want to throw stuff away.
Creating the Best Ergonomic Workspace
Creating an ergonomic workspace saves you mental and physical stress in the short and long run. It also improves your ability to meet deadlines and delivers on work tasks. If you’re a remote worker or a distance learning student, an ergonomic environment can boost your concentration and productivity. A shared ergonomic workspace prevents accidents and promotes engagement.
Practicing ergonomics helps you save costs in the long run. Most ergonomic items are long-lasting, so you don’t have to worry about repurchasing them anytime soon. It can also save you from spending money on MSD treatments associated with poor desk and computer usage. If you choose to pursue ergonomic design as a career, you can earn an average salary of $74,545.
Best Desk Setup for Ergonomics FAQ
The standard desk height for ergonomics is around 28 to 30 inches high. However, this size isn’t ideal for very short or very tall people, in which case customizing your desk height is the way to go. If you don’t want to build a desk from scratch, take an already made desk and either cut it to reduce the height or add a board to increase it.
Standing desks are useful in easing stress and back pains. They are sturdy and built for long-term use. While standing desks keep you agile and engaged throughout the day, standing for long hours can also lead to swelling and leg pains. The best thing to do is to purchase an adjustable standing desk so that you can convert it to a sitting desk.
Just because you’re creating an ergonomic desk setup doesn’t mean it can’t be attractive. Ergonomic desk setups can be embellished by aesthetic effects like plants, colorful stones, and frames. Wooden chairs, tables, and lamps can also make your desk area more attractive. Be careful not to cramp up your space with too many items.
An ergonomic chair is any chair designed for leg and back support. They are usually more comfortable than aesthetic chairs. If your chair has lumbar support, soft cushions, a headrest, backrest, armrest, and footrest, then it is ergonomic. If it doesn’t, you can customize one to suit your needs. Just ensure it supports the shape of your spine to relieve any physical stress.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.