October 2017 Newsletter: Mythbusters - Office Ergonomics Edition

Properly setting up an office workstation is relatively straightforward. The goal is to set up the individual’s office equipment in such a way that they can sit in a relaxed and neutral posture when at their desk. In this posture, the person should have:

Ergonomic Postures for computer desk
  • Their feet flat on the floor or a footrest
  • Their knees bent to ~90°
  • A hip angle between 90 and 110°
  • Their spine in a neutral curve and supported by a backrest
  • Their neck straight and looking forward
  • Their shoulders relaxed and their elbows by their sides
  • Their wrists unbent

There are a few other factors to consider, but this is a general summary of the setup required for a low-risk office workstation.

Office ergonomics, perhaps because of its simplicity, is often the subject of different fads that are not always based on solid evidence. This month, we’ll take you through some of office ergonomics equipment crazes to provide a balanced understanding of their pros and cons. Most of these fads tend to revolve around the incorporation of exercise into an office workday, generally due to concerns that a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to health. While this is true, new equipment generally isn’t going to solve this problem on its own. Below is a brief analysis of some of the latest equipment fads.

Fads to reconsider

The important things to consider when evaluating new equipment are: can the worker obtain a neutral posture (either seated or standing) when using this equipment, and is the body well supported such that it can comfortably work in this position for extended periods of time? While movement is certainly important to incorporate into the work day, it will only become habitual if workers are intrinsically motivated to do so; new equipment only helps for so long.

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