Understanding Office Ergonomics

woman working at stand up desk using ergonomic computer accessories

It’s important to be aware of how much of an impact your work environment has on your overall health. Even those who spend only a few hours a day at a desk can experience ailments that are directly related to how their workspace is set up. That is just one of the reasons why office ergonomics has become such a huge topic for large and small businesses. Many employers now understand that providing a healthy, ergonomic work place can lead to more productive and efficient employees.

To get you started on understanding more about office ergonomics, we have put together this little True/False ergonomics quiz. It will have you thinking more deeply at your work area and what you may be able to do to improve it.
(Answers are below quiz)

Start Quiz Here:

1) The keyboard I use has no impact on my health.

2) I should only be concerned with how my office space is set up when I start to feel pain or find myself being unproductive.

3) As long as I feel good at my desk I can sit and work for hours at a time with no breaks and have no ill effects.

4) A company should not be concerned with office ergonomics because it is too expensive and will not improve the bottom line.

5) If I travel I should not be concerned with ergonomics. I will have no control over where I am working, or under what circumstances.

6) I exercise every day, so I don’t need to worry about how my work area is set-up since I am in good shape.

7) If I feel pain and believe it is from my work area (i.e., pain in my wrists), I should just take a day or two off from work and all will be fine.

8) I believe my work space is giving me an injury. It’s probably my fault, right.

9) Ergonomics is something that I can leave at work. I don’t need to be concerned with it at home.

10) If I hunch over every once in a while at in my chair I shouldn’t be concerned.

11) I think I will only be at this job for a few months so I shouldn’t be concerned with the ergonomics of the workspace I am in.

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ANSWERS BELOW THIS SPACE

1) The keyboard I use has no impact on my health. False.

The type of keyboard you use, and how you have it set up can have a huge impact on your health. If you are not using the right keyboard for you, and/or it is not positioned correctly, typing on a keyboard can lead to long term injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

wrist pain at laptop ergonomics

2) I should only be concerned with how my office space is set up when I start to feel pain or find myself being unproductive. False.

You won’t always feel the impact of not properly setting up your workstation. It can be a slow, progressive build of an ailment that could take months or years to actually feel pain. However, the damage is being done. Whenever you change a workstation, be cognizant of how it is set up and the impact it can have on your health. Don’t wait until you are not being productive to address the ergonomics of your space. Your employer may not let you stick around to figure out how to make it better for you.

3) As long as I feel good at my desk I can sit and work for hours at a time with no breaks and have no ill effects. False.

Sitting for long periods of time is not good for anyone. People need to move, get blood circulating better and loosen up their muscles. Just standing up to walk over to fill up your coffee or tea once an hour can improve how your body feels.

Sharing fresh office news. Two young colleagues in smart casual wear discussing business and smiling while walking through the office.

4) A company should not be concerned with office ergonomics because it is too expensive and will not improve the bottom line. False.

Sure, figuring out the best set up for workstations can take time and even money. But once studies have shown that implementing companywide ergonomic initiatives can not only improve overall employee health and productivity, but also enhance a company’s ROI.

5) If I travel I should not be concerned with ergonomics because I will have no control over where I am working, or under what circumstances. False.

Just because you travel doesn’t mean your health doesn’t matter. And although you may not have control over all things, you certainly have control over many, such as:

a. Sitting properly
b. What type of keyboard you type on
c. Using an ergonomic mouse
d. Choice to use headphones if needed (to eliminate outside noise)

back pain low back pain office woman

6) I exercise every day, so I don’t need to worry about how my work area is set-up. I am in good shape after all. False.

This would be nice if true. But you do need to be concerned about your health everywhere, even if you are a gym rat. Sitting at a desk for hours a day is not what the human body was originally designed to do. So we do recommend that you continue to exercise, but the rules for an ergonomic office still apply.

7) If I feel pain and believe it is from my work area (i.e., pain in my wrists), I should just take a day or two off from work and all will be fine. False.

Although a day off may be enough time for the pain to dissipate, the root cause of the pain could still be at your desk. When you feel pain, be sure to take the time to see your doctor to diagnose the pain and figure out the cause.

8) I believe my work space is giving me an injury. It’s probably my fault, right. False.

If you’re an ergonomics expert, then maybe. But even then it’s questionable. Most people are not ergonomic experts. They have no idea how their work area should be set up and what equipment is right for them. Whether you have an injury or not, now is always a good time to re-assess how you should set up your workstation. Talk to your doctor about your job and any recommendations they have. Talk to your manager and/or HR department to figure out what options there are to make your desk more comfortable and ergonomic. Then you can be healthier and more productive.

9) Ergonomics is something that I can leave at work. I don’t need to be concerned with it at home. False.

Computer habits at home can be even worse than at the office. And not only should you be concerned with how you are using computers at home, you should also watch your kids to make sure they are using them in the proper way. Children are not immune to getting injuries that are commonly associated with people who use computers for a living.

10) If I hunch over every once in a while in my chair I shouldn’t be concerned. False.

computer hunch eyestrain workplace woman

Although it may or may not hurt you, it makes it easier for it to become a habit. Ask yourself why you feel the need to hunch over, and if there is a way to avoid it.

11) I think I will only be at this job for a few months so I shouldn’t be concerned with the ergonomics of the workspace I am in. False.

There are a few reasons to address the ergonomics of what you may see as a short term position. Many people enter what they believe is a short term job only to stay much longer than originally anticipated. But more than that, even short term usage of a computer workstation that is not set up correctly for you can have negative effects on your health.

So how did you do? Hopefully you are more aware of the impact of office ergonomics. More importantly, we hope this motivates you to research ergonomics further to build yourself a healthier workplace where you can be more productive.

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