Humantech recently surveyed over 24,000 users of its online office ergonomics tool, Ergopoint®, to better understand the fit between people and their office furniture and equipment. Since 87 percent of respondents have a workstation that is set up fairly well (adjustable chair, a workstation that meets their height and body size, equipment that promote neutral postures, and a properly positioned monitor), we were surprised to find that almost half reported discomfort in at least one body region. Eighteen percent reported discomfort in the eyes, neck , upper back, or lower back; fourteen percent in the right shoulder; and thirteen percent in the right wrist. The good news is that most of this discomfort can be alleviated if people are provided with the right equipment and tools, are trained in ergonomics principles, and have the “know-how” to adjust their equipment to their own height and body size.
The three most commonly reported issues were:
- The inability to position the top of their monitor (or viewing mechanism) at eye height. This is most likely because many of those surveyed often used a smart phone, tablet, or laptop without an external monitor. A monitor on a support arm or stand can be raised to the proper height.
- Chair discomfort. The seat height, seat pan, back rest, and arm supports should be fully adjustable to fit different body types. If adjustable chairs are not available, advice from an ergonomics expert may be necessary to select the right one.
- Incorrect desk (work surface) height. The surface height should allow the user’s arms to rest at the sides of the body in a 90-degree angle when keying or using a mouse.