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The importance of an ergonomic workspace

By Shannin Williams '09 & '11
SFA Design Center, Interior Designer

Shannin Williams

Ergonomics is defined as the science of fitting a workspace to the user's needs. An ergonomically correct workspace can help increase efficiency and productivity, and reduce pain and discomfort.

In the wake of COVID-19, more and more people are working from home, and more students also are engaging in distance learning. Although our homes may be the place we feel most comfortable, they may not be set up to offer the best work and study environments.

Here are a few tips to help you and your family members remain productive and protect your health and well-being when working or studying from home.

Ensure the desk is the correct height.
Your desk height should be positioned at 29.5 to 30 inches. This is considered the standard desk height by the American National Standards Institute and the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association.

Use an ergonomic desk chair.
The chair must include arms that adjust up and down, an adjustable sliding seat and an adjustable lumbar support to help maintain proper posture and avoid neck and back pain.

Install a keyboard tray and tilt the keyboard.
Place your keyboard on a keyboard tray that has been mounted under the desk. The keyboard should be tilted at 6 degrees to help keep your wrists straight and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Consider purchasing and installing monitor arms.
Monitor arms adjust in height to position the computer monitor at the user's eye level. The use of monitor arms helps reduce neck, back and eye strain. They also help clear the desk space for additional use.

Select the right type of lighting.
Proper lighting is essential to help protect your eyes. This can come from natural lighting or an organic light emitting diodes desk lamp. OLED lamps emit beautiful, soft diffused light that is closest to natural light.

It's a fact that people do better work when they are comfortable. When you implement the ergonomic solutions mentioned above, you'll increase your efficiency and productivity while helping your body and mind stay strong and focused.