When performing office ergonomics evaluations, I often hear clients say “I don’t have enough space.” Desk space is a highly-coveted commodity for many office workers, but too much space tends to promote excess reaching and clutter. With an ergonomics approach, you can organize your desk and regain control of your office space.
Below are three tips for managing it:
- Use a monitor arm to create space. Instead of using a monitor with a large base, consider this option to free up precious desk space for your more frequently used items. A monitor arm makes it easy to adjust your monitor; place it within an arm’s length away from you, and position the top of the monitor at or just below eye-level
- Reduce work surface clutter. There is evidence that working in a cluttered environment can significantly reduce one’s ability to concentrate on persistent work (Chae and Zhu in 2015). You can reduce clutter on your desk by managing cables and wires, using a document holder, and limiting items to only those you use regularly. Store items you don’t use often in drawers or cabinets nearby.
- Place frequently used items close to you. Keep the items you use most often, such as your phone or notepad, within a 15″ reach from the front edge of the workstation, and those you use less often within 21″. This will help you avoid the need for extended reaching and twisting throughout the day, which can lead to fatigue over time.
The ergonomics goals for many organizations are two-fold: reduce musculoskeletal disorders, and concurrently improve efficiencies. A 2008 survey of 400 consumers, commissioned by the National Association of Professional Organizers, showed that 27% of workers across the nation said they feel disorganized at work, and among them, 91% said they would improve their efficiency if they were better organized. Organization and ergonomics often go hand in hand, and these tips can help fight the battle on both fronts.