Performance Thinking

Expert information and solutions for your business.

Spring 2011

Office Ergonomics – Quick and Easy

Setting up an office workspace with good ergonomic features does not have to be costly or time consuming; just a few simple adjustments will correct most ergonomic hazards in an office environment.

The basics are simple to observe and correct. When sitting naturally, the employee’s upper legs should be parallel to the floor, with their feet resting comfortably flat on the floor. If not, the chair should be raised or lowered until the upper legs are parallel to the floor and the feet are comfortably supported by the floor. Additionally the seat pan of the chair should be adjusted so that the employee does not feel like they are sliding forward or backward in the chair, and that their thighs are supported all the way to the edge of the chair. These adjustments are most easily made with newer adjustable chairs, and with a changing workforce, adjustable chairs are a good investment.

Once the chair height and seat pan are adjusted, the back support should be adjusted to support the employee’s lower back. If there is no back adjustment, a lumbar support or small pillow works fine. Next, the employee’s seating needs to be compared to the desk or work surface. When the employee’s hands are in the working position on a computer or mouse, their forearms should be parallel to the floor, with both wrists in a natural, neutral position. Wrists should not have upward or downward bending while working. A keyboard/mouse tray mounted under the desk surface makes this adjustment easier. Get a good keyboard tray with a gel filled wrist rest to help hold the wrists in a neutral position. If the chair has arm rests, they should be adjusted to just support the elbows when hanging down naturally while seated.