Ergonomics in Your Work Area
Ergonomics is an important part of the work environment. It designs or modifies the work to fit the worker. The goal is to eliminate discomfort and risk of injury.
To request an ergonomic study of your work space contact Safety@nmu.edu
As many continue to work remotely in home offices we would like to reach out with some ergonomic support. If you are struggling with your set up please contact Kim Hegmegee.
If you are in need of office equipment contact your supervisor.
Some Ergonomic Suggestions For Your Home Office
Create a Dedicated Workspace. Most of us do not have an “office” in our homes, therefore poor chairs for sitting more than 30-45 minutes. Identify a space with a desk or table that can be dedicated for computer use; do not work while sitting on a bed or couch for long periods of time,
Monitor: If possible use a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse; if using a laptop place on a stand or books.
Keyboard and mouse: Use a traditional set-up, hook laptop directly to monitor or place laptop on stand and use an external keyboard and mouse.
Chair: Use a chair with low back support and seated cushion; for a kitchen or dining chair insert a seat cushion and roll up a soft towel or blanket to place in your low back area. If your feet are not flat on the floor find something to use as a foot stool.
Phone: Use the speakerphone or microphone/voice activation for cell phone texting; don’t brace the handset or cell phone between the neck and shoulder.
A comfortable workstation setup promotes:
- Neutral postures with the neck aligned with the spine (NOT bent or thrust forward)
- Back relaxed and supported
- Shoulders relaxed (NOT hunched or rounded)
- Maintain a neutral neck posture by placing the top of the screen at about eye level or slightly lower if using bifocal glasses.
- Elbows close to the body and bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees
- Wrist and hands straight (NOT bent or turned)
- Make sure to keep an upright posture. Don’t hunch your shoulders forward or lean your body towards your laptop screen.
Move, Stretch and Change it Up
Your body is designed to move throughout the day, your goal is variety.
Sitting or standing for long periods can have adverse health risks.
- Vary your position often throughout the day.
- Rotate your job tasks to avoid constant keyboard work.
- Take frequent, short breaks to get up and move around. Do one or two of the below stretches each break.
How to Stretch
Stretching should be done slowly without bouncing. Stretch to where you feel a slight, easy stretch. Hold this feeling for 5-20 seconds. As you hold this stretch, the feeling of tension should diminish. If it doesn't, just ease off slightly into a more comfortable stretch. The easy stretch reduces tension and readies the tissues for the developmental stretch.
After holding the easy stretch, you can move a fraction of an inch farther into the stretch until you feel mild tension again. This is the developmental stretch which should be held for 10-15 seconds. This feeling of stretch tension should also slightly diminish or stay the same. If the tension increases or becomes painful, you are overstretching. Ease off a bit to a comfortable stretch. The developmental stretch reduces tension and will safely increase flexibility.
Hold only stretch tensions that feel good to you. The key to stretching is to be relaxed while you concentrate on the area being stretched. Your breathing should be slow, deep, and rhythmic. Don't worry about how far you can stretch.