non-ergonomic vs. ergonomic
Leno vs. Letterman. Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman. Trace back to the very beginnings of humankind, and you’ll find more than your fair share of history-shaping rivalries. (What was a caveman’s existence, anyhow, but a daily showdown between man vs. the elements?). Rivalries are inherently intriguing, as they engage their audiences and get them invested, giving them someone to root for and against. Even more than that, they force us to examine our assumptions as we compare and contrast both sides.

Throughout the month of May, we’ll be exploring a few of the greatest “this vs. that” rivalries in the world of ergonomics. We will dig down deep, separating winning products, technologies and interventions from those that are, well, just taking up space. So, are you ready for the Ultimate Ergonomic Showdown?  You better be, because we’re starting with: Ergonomic Vs. Non-Ergonomic Office Spaces

Round 1: Custom Fit

Non-ergonomic workspaces can be deceiving. They can be as bland as a wooden desk with a simple metal chair or as comfortable as a coffee shop with cushy couches. The problem is, they don’t adjust to fit each unique individual. Either one might be relatively decent for one random person, but since we all have different body types and working behaviors, they won’t be acceptable for most of us. That can lead to a host of physical problems, from carpal tunnel syndrome to pulled and hunched backs to eye strain and more

In contrast, an ergonomic workspace is customized to fit you and no one else. All furniture and devices within the workspaces should be placed at precise distances and heights. Your screen, for example, should be at eye level and placed about an arm’s length away. Meanwhile, your keyboard should be at such a height that your hands float naturally over the keys. When it comes to your chair, it should provide lumbar support for your back and should be at such a height that the soles of your feet rest comfortably on the floor with your knees at a 45-degree angle.

Investing time, energy and money into properly setting up your workspace will save you on all three later down the line. Both at the organization and individual level, a comfortable, well-fitted workspace means greater productivity, efficiency and creativity in the long-term. We highly recommend hiring an ergonomist to help you through, but if you’re making adjustments on your own, this LifeHacker article is a great place to start.

Winner: Ergonomic Workspaces

Shop Ergonomic Keyboards

Goldtouch V2 Adjustable Keyboard | PC and Mac (USB)
Goldtouch V2 Adjustable Keyboard | PC Only (USB)
Goldtouch Go!2 Bluetooth Wireless Mobile Keyboard | PC and Mac
Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard | PC and Mac

Round 2: Adjustability

Sometimes even custom settings can’t account for how your body shifts throughout the day as your muscles work. Other times, a static fit isn’t making your muscles work enough. This can lead to muscle atrophy and other long term health detriments. Sitting for too long at work, for example, has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and a host of other problems.

An ergonomic workspace accounts for this by being fully adjustable. This can mean everything from a screen that tilts up or down based on your posture to sit/stand desk, which moves up and down so that you can — you guessed it — alternate between sitting and standing all day long.

Notably, adjustability is also a must for finding that custom fit in the first place. Goldtouch ergonomic keyboards, for example, pull apart in the middle so that you can find the horizontal and vertical angles that are right for your typing style and wrist angle. This will help alleviate tension in your joints and upper body and help to prevent Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs).

Altogether, a workspace filled with adjustable furniture and devices means you can continually readjust your fit throughout the day so that you’re always receiving the support you need.

Winner: Ergonomic Workspaces

Round 3: Support

Just how much support each individual needs in the workspace can vary widely. Some people operate just fine while sitting on a medicine ball, while others need an expensive ergonomic chair to support every muscle in every way possible. Others still will find the lumbar support they need by simply placing a pillow at the small of their backs.

Whatever your needs, it’s important that your devices support your individual body exactly how you need it to. A workspace that provides good support will encourage you to use proper posture with a straight back and gently angled knees if sitting — no leaning if standing. This will help prevent you from developing bad habits like hunching, which strain one set of muscles and atrophy their accompanying pair, leading to long-term pain.

Winner: Ergonomic Workspaces

Round 4: Movement

Last but not least, an ergonomic workspace is one that encourages movement, something that’s just as much about the equipment in the space as it is about your — and your officemates’ — attitude(s). A sit/stand desk or even a treadmill desk is a great place to start, as is stretching at your desk, holding a walking meeting, biking to work, heading to the gym at lunch, or taking more frequent breaks throughout the day.

Increasing your movement will push your blood flow to cut off areas of the body and will also force you to move your muscles in new ways, helping to prevent atrophy and strain. It will also lower your chances of developing larger health problems, like heart disease, and will kick start your metabolism.

Winner: Ergonomic Workspaces

The Takeaway

This battle really is no contest. When it comes to ergonomic vs. non-ergonomic office spaces, ergonomic is the way to go. Not only will making your office ergonomic have great benefits for your health, but it will also keep your mind active, engaged, productive, efficient and ready to tackle the next big thing on your to do list. So the real question is: when will you get your ergonomic makeover started?