What is Your Neutral Reach Zone, and Why Do You Care?

What is Your Neutral Reach Zone, and Why Do You Care?

Posted by Human Solution on Oct 23rd 2013

Stay within your neutral reach zone for ergonomic health
Keep your most frequently-used items within your Neutral Reach Zone. (Photo: The Web Squeeze)

Your Neutral Reach Zone is the area of your desk you can easily access when your upper arms are at rest alongside your body, with your elbows bent. Go ahead and try it now; in an elbows-bent position, sweep your forearms back and forth across your desk and see what you can reach. For ideal ergonomics, all your most-commonly used items should be located within this range. Depending on your job requirements, this may include your keyboard and mouse, phone, or calculator.

Why is it important to keep often-used items in this zone? Well, it may not seem like the biggest deal in the world to have to reach across the desk to access these items, but it will force you to stretch and strain, which over time will cause musculoskeletal problems like pain and weakness. Avoiding these straining postures will not only make your work easier, but will prevent unnecessary repetitive stress injuries as well.

You probably have other items you use with some frequency, maybe a handful of times each day. This might include things like a stapler or your computer tower. You'll want these items in your Maximum Reach Zone, which is defined as the area of your desk you can easily reach with your arms fully extended. Again, the idea here is to avoid any strain when reaching for these items.

Any items that you use rarely, such as an external hard drive, can be kept in your Outer Reach Zone, which is the area of your desk you can't reach without leaning over or getting out of your chair. Obviously, this area requires the most use of your muscles and involves some straining, which you don't want to do on any kind of regular basis. If you have to stretch across your desk to answer and hang up the phone several times a day, you'll ultimately end up with soreness and muscle injury. And who wants that?! Nobody, that's who.

Adhering to these easy Neutral Reach Zone principles will allow you to stay healthy and comfortable at work. And who wants that?! Everybody, that's who.

Find lots of ways to stay comfortable at work at TheHumanSolution.com.

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