There has been a lot of buzz going around about the casual office environment. Many offices for start-up tech companies show photos of employees sitting on couches. Take this advice from someone who has spent the past two years on her couch doing homework; the couch is not an ideal work environment for a simple reason, ergonomics.
Ergowho? Humans and their relationship to ergonomics is defined by Wikipedia as “…In essence it is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body and its cognitive abilities.” Ergonomics is literally the study of how our bodies and tools for work can fit together to help us feel and work better. By having proper body positioning for work you can help your body stay healthy. Having proper positioning will prevent back injuries, carpel tunnel, stiff necks and much more. As I said earlier, I have spent the past two years mainly doing homework from my couch. I have to admit after a full day of homework on my couch my back is sore. I can’t image having that be the norm as my work environment.
Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that modern day ergonomics was invented not as a way to prevent injuries for workers but to keep them productive? Lillian and Frank Gilbreath were the inventors of modern day ergonomics. Their studies focused on increasing worker efficiencies in the early 20th century. The idea is that if you are positioned properly for the job at hand you will be more efficient and effective in getting the work done. Think of proper body placement next time you see a photo of a tech start-up company employee sitting on the couch. How effective are they really at getting the job done? Maybe that’s why they spend so many hours at work ;).
Important things to keep in mind for proper workplace ergonomics are comfortable and adjustable chair, desk height, proper hand placement for moving your mouse, and monitor height. Look at the image to the left to see all the things to keep in mind. I know it doesn’t seem important now, but taking care of your body now will keep your body healthy for future adventures. Leave a comment with feedback on your thoughts on workplace ergonomics.