Ergonomics: First Impressions of A Strange New World
Just a few weeks ago, I was probably in the same boat you are: having heard the term “ergonomics” before, but not knowing exactly what it could do for me. So, after being in an environment that is all about ergonomics for those few weeks, I am here to share with you my experience of familiarizing myself with my new ergonomic office environment.
At first glance, my cubicle looks pretty much the same as any other office, aside from the treadmill under the desk (which I will come back to a little later). There are two monitors not far above the desktop, a keyboard and mouse on a tray under the desk, and a cushy leather chair. All these items look fairly nondescript at first glance, but they are all designed with ergonomics in mind.
My first taste of this new ergonomic world came from sitting in my Ergohuman Chair and learning what adjustments could make sitting much more comfortable -- and healthier too! I was able to adjust the height of the seat and armrests, so my legs and arms were at right-angles, and adjust the large lumbar support, so it was in just the right spot on my lower back. I herniated a disk in my back not too long ago, so sitting in an ergonomic chair made it feel much better.
The next piece with hidden ergoomic potential was my keyboard tray. The tray looked like any other at first glance, with a large platform for my keyboard and mouse and a wrist pad, but it turned out to be so much more than that. According to basic ergonomic principles (which I hope you are becoming more familiar with), your keyboard and mouse should be close to your lap, so you can maintain the aforementioned right-angle with your arms. I quickly discovered that the UpLift Keyboard Tray can not only be pushed in and out from under the desk, but it can be raised and lowered and swiveled left and right, in order to get it in just the right position to lessen the strain on your arms and back. Another adjustment that was new to me was negative tilt, which allows you to tilt the keyboard away from you, so your hands are no longer angled uncomfortably towards your body. Typing was now made more comfortable.
Next up (literally) were my dual monitors. I am used to dual monitors at my desk, from previous office jobs and my desk at home, but what was new to me was having monitors on an articulating monitor arm. I was able to adjust the height of my monitors with my fingertip, so the tops were about at eye level (the proper ergonomic height) as well as adjust them left and right with ease, so I was no longer having to turn my head to use my primary monitor. I was getting more and more comfortable as I went.
I was then on to using the pièce de résistance, the Uplift 900 Height-adjustable Desk. I know what you're thinking, “how can a desk that just moves up and down be that important?” But this desk does something incredibly beneficial for your health: it gets you on your feet. The monitor arms, keyboard tray, and ergonomic chair can all help you be more comfortable while you are working, but when you have a height-adjustable desk, you can push the chair out of the way for a while, and work while you are standing, which has a multitude of health benefits. The concept of standing while working was new to me, so it took me a few days to start getting used to it, and now I regularly stand throughout portions of my workday (even as I write this post). Once I stand up, I can adjust my keyboard tray and raise my monitors in just a few seconds, so I can maintain proper ergonomic form. Once I am on my feet, I can add walking on my Lifespan treadmill to the mix and burn even more calories!
After being in my new office setup for just a week, I am already feeling better throughout my day. I could feel the energy boost I got from getting out of my chair even after I got off of work, and at this point, I can't imagine having a regular desk again. The idea of doing something new with your office space like this may seem kind of scary at first, but once you get used to the change, you will start feeling more comfortable and healthy, just like I did.
If ergonomics is something new to you, visit TheHumanSolution.com to get help from our team of ergo experts!
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