Ergonomics for Emerging Offices
by Parul Lahoti, CPE
Startups have been storming the business scene lately, with a unique focus on solving problems and providing niche solutions for consumers. While many of these companies may meet the needs of their markets well, they may struggle to provide employees with ergonomic tools and accessories due to perceived costs. However, it can be easier to accomplish than it may seem, by strategically determining organization needs based on working styles, and making sound (versus trendy) choices. Here are some examples to get you on the path towards a winning work environment, which will keep your employees happier and healthier, as your emerging company grows.
- Working at a desk or writing surface with a laptop or tablet. Though working this way may seem easy and efficient, it can pose some ergonomic issues due to the height of the keyboard/display. Pay attention to your hand working height relative to your lap and your neck posture while working at a laptop or tablet. Consider a laptop stand (or tablet stand if that’s your preference) and an external keyboard and mouse to help get your posture right.
- Working from a soft seating area (like a sofa or an ottoman). While this seems comfortable for a little while, your back, neck, and leg posture can suffer over long durations. Consider a lap desk for intermittent use, and for longer durations, use fully-adjustable seating, with height, armrest, lumbar, and seat pan adjustments to ensure you’re posture is on point. These days, fully adjustable chairs come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, so it’s worth a search to get the right equipment.
- Standing at a bar-style table while working. Standing work is one of the hottest office trends right now, and standing has been shown to be great for the back during intermittent periods. But standing at a desk where your neck or arm posture is not correct can be just as draining as sitting at a mal-adjusted desk. Consider peripherals like a keyboard tray with slightly negative tilt and monitor arm to get you back into the right posture.
- Relying on your laptop mouse pad or eraser-head mouse. While you may find it quick to navigate your laptop with the laptop’s mousing surface, your wrists may take a beating due to the bent postures and finger presses required on these devices. External mouse options are plentiful, and even wireless, so always plug in and save your aching wrists.
These are just a few examples of quick and easy solutions to some common problems you may face at your startup or emerging office. Keeping ergonomics in mind now can benefit your bottom line in the long run, which makes good business sense for an office of any size.