If it’s time to re-organize your work-space, either the layout of an individual cubicle, a busy shared space, or even a home office – otherwise known as “The Spare Bedroom” – start asking the following questions: What space do I have? What do I need in a workspace? What do I want from my workspace? Here are a few things that we have learned:
Let It Go
Firstly you should stop cramming your workstation with everything that you need for every possible eventuality. Many workers take far too much on themselves, with multiple projects open at the same time and too much paperwork on their desks, all to satisfy a muddled, ongoing daily plan. This results in too tight a working space, shrinking it to a crowded, overbearing environment, and making you force yourself into too uncomfortable a space for productive work. Learn to use your computer more, and paperwork less.
You should be able to work in a logical, ordered manner that focuses your concentration on one area. It stops you having to turn your head continually or stretching too far repeatedly – both bad habits that affect your working posture.
Are you Sitting Comfortably?
Are you comfortable when you work? You should be able to hinge at the waist easily, sit squarely, with both feet flat on the floor, supporting your lower back, reaching your computer keyboard without stretching, and without splaying your elbows out either side into thin air.
While you are looking at your keyboard, check out some of the new ones on the market that feature columnar key arrangement, so that you aren’t using staggered keys. You will find that your fingers lay and work much easier on these keyboards than on the more traditional computer keyboard. These keyboards are truly ergonomic, create less wrist-hinge, and take up less desk space to save you stretching for your mouse.
Where is Your Storage?
If it is possible to have storage above your head, use this to its maximum. It is far too easy to use files in lower desk drawers that force you to turn, hinge, reach and pull heavy items out of the usual stacking desk drawers when you are in an uncomfortable, unsupported position.
Bu using higher storage that is at eye-level usually requires you to stand and retrieve items while you are facing straight, your arms are in front of you, and you are anchored in a better position to take weight.
If you must have storage for items that are too unwieldy to store and be available when you require them, store them in another area, away from the desk. This forces you to stand up from your desk, and walk somewhere to complete this task. Once again, this leads to a better lifting posture that cuts down on the twisting and weight transference that lead to many workplace injuries.
The Home Office
Who would have thought that we have reached a point in time where everything we do is now at a desk, or in the palm of our hands? Now we are working, playing, communicating, and researching at a desk through the same piece of equipment.
Because your Home Office is part of your living conditions, it tends to look different from your work area: More elegant, bigger, more ornate and plusher. Ask yourself the same questions as above, when thinking ergonomically. Does it do the job without causing strains in your lower back, shoulders, or wrists? You would be surprised how much time you actually spend at it – and this time is growing annually. If your copies of Nineteenth century Lawyer’s chairs and Partner Desks look fantastic but cause you pain, then it’s time to get rid of them, and get something more ergonomic.
We all spend a lot of time sitting down, staring at a screen, referring to documentation, and lifting and turning. There are great computer peripheries and office equipment to make your days and evenings more enjoyable, less painful, and a lot less stressful. You owe it to yourself to make your online time as comfortable as possible.