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Recommended Equipment for Shared Workstations

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As today’s workforce evolves into a more mobile and flexible ideology, companies are challenged with trying to find ways to ensure that new “non-traditional” workspaces are still maintaining an ergonomic standard.  The “pit stop” or “swing” workstation has become popular for employees that frequently work from home or on the road but still come into the office occasionally.  To provide each of these workers a permanent workstation becomes a real estate challenge and an overhead expense.  As such, we see companies implementing more shared or transient workspaces.  The following are the top four recommended pieces of equipment to improve the ergonomic set up for multi-user workstations:

A height adjustable chair

For transient workstations the standard office chair may not offer the gas range lift required to fit a wide range of people.  Consider looking into seating options that have a higher gas lift range so that workers can set themselves up ergonomically.  Many of the leading seat manufacturers offer a range of seating options and gas lifts.

The keyboard tray

Anytime there is a multi-user workstation the theme in all features will be height adjustability.  So unless the corporate mandate is to provide height adjustable (sit-stand type) desks, the keyboard tray is still our next best option.  There are plenty of examples on the market, though some things to consider are:

  • A single platform to accommodate left and right hand mousers. Typically, a minimum 25” length is needed, and some suppliers will customize the platform to fit your needs.
  • A low-profile track.  Many taller employees don’t have a genuine need for a keyboard tray and will often become aggravated by the keyboard arm mechanism as it reduces leg space or even rubs/bumps on their knees.  Most newer model keyboard trays have a low profile arm, which offers a reprieve from that while still allowing the taller employee to work comfortably.

A place to rest your feet

If a keyboard tray is not available, the employee should be adjusting the chair height to align their elbow height with the keyboard/mouse height on the desk. This may create a “dangly leg” effect for some.  Even if their feet are not completely off the floor, the visual indicator of their knees sloping downwards means that a footrest should be used to avoid compression to the nervous and vascular systems in the back of the legs.  A footrest that offers height adjustability may be a good solution to fit users of varying heights.  Our suggestion is the Aidata that offers up to a 7.5” height adjustment:

A place to dock

It may not make sense to place a permanent desktop computer at a multi-user workstation.  Instead consider one of the following:

  • Maintain a permanent monitor (ideally with a height adjustable pedestal or a monitor arm to incorporate height adjustability features) and a standard docking station so that laptops can be docked and used as a CPU. Or;
  • Provide a laptop riser that part time users can set their laptop on to position the monitor at their eye height. Include an external keyboard and mouse for users to connect to their laptop.

Keyboard and mouse

To keep the weight of their laptop bag to a minimum for on-the-go workers, equip the workstation with a keyboard and mouse for users to connect to their laptop once docked.

With a little PROactive planning and some minor tweaks to the standard issued equipment, the comfort of employees can be drastically increased and workplace related MSDs decreased.  For further input and assistance in setting up your workstations to follow an ergonomic approach, contact any of PROergonomics’ Certified Ergonomists.

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