The concept of ergonomic design serves to facilitate people at their workplace or home. Rather than expecting people to adapt to uncomfortable designs, ergonomic design tries to suit the needs of people who are going to use them. It mainly aims to improvise the workspace environment and reduces the chances of any harm or injury.
Ergonomics is defined as the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s requirements to increase productivity and reduce discomfort. This discipline brings together the knowledge of psychology, engineering, statistics, anatomy, and physiology to ensure that the designs complement the abilities and strength of people and minimize the effects of their limitations.
The following statistics on workplace ergonomics are crucial.
The Indian Society of Ergonomics, established in 1983, is the only professional body that represents ergonomics in the country. There are various occupational hygiene and safety laws added in the legislation to ease the workers. These laws ensure occupational safety at the workplace.
There are three ergonomic stressors that employees need to consider when evaluating a job. These are,
The common symptoms of not incorporating ergonomic design in daily routine are,
Musculoskeletal disorders affect joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones. The pain can be acute or chronic, depending on the severity. The common symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder symptoms may vary according to the cause of the pain. These are,
Anthropometry is the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body. These include eye height, hip breadth, knuckle height, distance from the floor to a person’s eyes, overall stature, popliteal height, and distance from the floor
to the back of the knee.
These measurements are done to optimize the fit and functions of the product during design and evaluation. To apply the anthropometric data, there are three basic choices.
Each principle has its own application within a workspace. Designers can go for any of these approaches while using anthropometric data that best suit the given situation.
To enjoy the benefits of ergonomic design, it is mandatory to consider ergonomics and biomechanics as a whole. Biomechanics is the science of movement of the living body. It includes the study of how bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints work together
These models comprise mathematical predictive equations that can be used to estimate loads on the human body. In the case of workplace ergonomics, the body is viewed as a system of levers. Biomechanics in knee joints is complex because it includes the
weight of the body and various orientations of the joints in question.
This branch of ergonomics studies the concepts related to the interaction of people with their physical environment, whether indoor, outdoor, operational, or free-time. These interaction studies may vary from comfortable to traumatic experiences.
The models used in environmental physics are mainly derived from the effects of heat and cold, vibration, noise, and light on the health, comfort, and performance of the people. Keep in mind that it is an integral part of ergonomics and should always be viewed and practiced effectively.
Humans never respond to environmental physics in a way related to direct measures of the physical environment. Certain human characteristics are used to evaluate human responses and sensitivities.
Applied psychology analyzes and derives solutions that allow workers to adapt to their external factors and the company’s internal factors to avoid psychological burdens. Working in a non-ergonomic environment can lead to several dysfunctions, such as
stress, anxiety, and phobia. These can limit workers’ abilities and influence their performances directly.
Priority will be given to examining the workers’ characteristics, social interaction opportunities, habits, culture, and how they are affected by unfavorable working conditions. This aspect presents the importance of ergonomics in product design and how
it increases the working ability of an employee on the go.
Poor work conditions not only affect the workers physically but also mentally and socially. A non-ergonomic workstation design leads to increased cycle times, awkward posture, low quality of work, and exposure to high forces, which, in turn, increases the mental stress on an individual.
Social psychology effects are a little more discreet but expensive. Bad and uncomfortable ergonomic design, whether in the workplace or at home, breaks their connection from their social life by keeping them engaged in the work for a longer time. The added stress can directly influence a workers’ behavior and decrease human performance.
There is no denying the fact that sitting in a non-ergonomic manner is not healthy in the long run. It not only affects the person physically but also creates mental stress. It increases the risk of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, cholesterol, and certain cancers.
The more you sit in a workstation with an ergonomic chair design, the better your chances are for living a healthy life. Further, humans are meant for an active lifestyle as their bodily system is built that way. However, nowadays, office culture has taken precedence. People need to sit down in the same place for long hours, which affects their body posture and makes them inactive and lazy.
The health diseases that might affect you if your work desk design is not ergonomic include,
Since you are now aware of the dangers of not using an ergonomic design for your workstation, it’s time to modify your workstation according to your physical needs. A safe and healthy workspace is the key to a healthy and productive workforce.
Therefore, enterprises and employees need to ensure that the work desk design meets the ergonomic requirements. Keep in mind that all those fancy chairs and desks make no sense for an employee who slouches or slumps awkwardly at their desk.
Let’s check out some of the important aspects related to workspace ergonomics so that organizations can make changes accordingly.
The seat height is the first and foremost thing to consider while looking for an ergonomic chair design. The optimal height allows you to keep your feet flat on the floor and, therefore, it is always advised to go for chairs with adjustable height.
While everyone has a different height, chairs with lengths that range from 16 to 21 inches work for most people.
Lumbar support refers to the support that is given to your lower back. This is an essential feature and must not be overlooked while looking for a chair with an ergonomic design.
Good chairs support the natural S shape of the spine to reduce slumping and stress from the lower back and pelvis. One can also use a lumbar support pillow to ease lower back pain.
An adjustable backrest allows the users to align the curve in the chair to their spine and enjoy optimal support while working.
Cushioning is provided in an ergonomic chair to relieve pressure by distributing weight across the cushion. It encourages occupational safety, better seating posture, and softens an uncomfortable hard seat.
While choosing an ergonomic design chair for a workspace, it is important to select a movable option. Moreover, the choice should be made according to the flooring on which the chair will be placed.
If your chair will be used on a hard surface, find one with soft rubber wheels. However, if it has to be kept on a carpeted surface, select hard wheels with better traction.
Armrests play an important role while choosing an ergonomic chair design. They reduce the pressure from the upper body and allow the shoulders to relax. The armrest must not be used while typing as it decreases the overall arm movement and affects the work performance. Also, it forces wrist movements that lead to strain on the forearm muscles.
While the average desk height varies a bit, most work surfaces are designed at the standard height of 28” to 30” from the floor to the tabletop. This is a good height for most people between 5’8” and 5’10” tall. If you are taller or shorter, you may have to make some more adjustments.
The arm length of the desk should be long enough to support the employee’s elbows when seated. It should be 4” shorter in length than full-length arms for the ideal arm length. The major advantage of adding desk-length arms is to be closer to the desk or table without bumping into it.
An appropriate ergonomic design desk ensures that a user will have enough space for feet, knees, and thigh movement. Always select a desk that is adjustable so that you can modify it according to your height and body needs. However, if it is not adjustable, raise your chair to accommodate the extra height of the table.
Have you ever experienced discomfort while using your work desk design and thought about the reason? It is because of its hard and sharp edges. If your desk has a hard edge, either pad it or use wrist rests.
Wrist rests are intended to support the straight wrist and reduce the pressure from the wrist by providing a soft surface to relax. However, one should keep in mind that these are wrist “rests” and not wrist “supports.” Therefore, they should only be used to take a break while typing. Always choose a gel wrist-rest as foam wrist rests cannot take adequate pressure.
Padding is an important part of an ergonomic design and is used to cover the hard edges of the table. It gives proper arm support to the worker and simply distributes the pressure. Thus, it is a good alternative on which to rest.
Footrests are ideally designed to shift postures and offer support to the feet if the chair cannot be lowered. A footrest should be adjustable according to the height so that you can adjust the same until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
While using footrests, ensure to change positions frequently. This increases blood circulation and helps in avoiding static positions.
Place the monitor right in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be slightly below or at eye level. Also, the monitor should be kept just behind the keyboard. If any of the employees wear a bifocal lens, lower the height of the monitor by up to 1 or 2 inches for comfortable viewing. Also, the monitor should be tilted backward.
The mousepads with ergonomic design have one or two feature designs that make them more usable. They are generally curved or raised on the thumb side to support the hand in a handshake position.
Explore Wakefit’s ergonomically designed furniture for your workstation
Keeping the right ergonomics of your bed is important to enjoy comfort while working from home. Everything has its own significance. The pillow must be the perfect height and the mattress must provide the right support.
Go for an upholstered headboard as it not only improves the aesthetics of the bedroom but also provides cushioned support to the back when sitting. Alternatively, you can select a curved wooden headboard to enjoy excellent back support.
Mattress and pillows are important to consider while looking at ergonomics in product design. Several factors should be taken into account at the time of designing your bed, such as the infill material, support system, and durability.
Consider buying Wakefit’s Lumbar Support Pillow as it releases muscle tension and eases chronic back pain. Moreover, it also helps in correcting your body posture.
Follow the recommended guidelines while planning out your space and ensure work from home ergonomics.
In addition to comfortable furniture, lighting is another crucial factor that cannot be overlooked. Exposure to natural light helps employees to get vitamin D and improves their circadian rhythm and sleep patterns.
Moreover, it helps them improve focus so that they can get more work done with ease.
Numerous studies have shown that natural lighting improves employee satisfaction and work productivity. According to Forbes, the Future Workplace Wellness Study states that workers who are exposed to natural light have improved sleep-wake schedules.
Benefits of including natural lighting to workplace ergonomics are,
Along with a comfortable home office chair and desk, it is important to take measures to include natural lighting in your workstation to foster productivity.
At Wakefit, we offer a variety of work-from-home products to ensure an ergonomic workplace. These are,
Their key features are,
Check out Wakefit’s ergonomically designed furniture for your home
There are various exercises to reduce lower back pain and ease eye strain. Add them to your routine and improve overall well-being. However, it is advised to always be careful while implementing a new exercise into your schedule. If you feel pain or discomfort, connect with a doctor without delay.
Upper back stretches might be the best thing to try at your desk and home to reduce the pressure in your spine and improve flexibility. There are various sitting and standing stretching exercises to reduce lower back pain that you can add to your daily routine. These include,
Eye strain exercises may help ease and relieve eye strain.
While adding leg and knee exercises, keep the biomechanics of knee joints in mind. Gentle knee stretching and strengthening exercises may help in easing the pain while improving flexibility and range of motion.
Stretches for knee pain include,
In addition to performing the stretches for knee pain, stretching your feet can help in reducing ankle pain, ease muscle soreness, and improve overall foot health.
Arm and wrist exercises increase flexibility and lower the risk of injury.
Shoulder exercises only help in soothing pain and discomfort but also promote the best sitting posture.
Ergonomics is an applied science related to designing and arranging things. An ergonomic design aims to reduce physical stress and the resulting injuries. It also enhances occupational hygiene to enhance productivity and better work culture.
An ergonomic workplace is a workspace designed to keep workers’ capabilities and limitations in mind. The ideal design promotes the best sitting posture and removes the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
The best example of ergonomic design is comfortable furniture like an office chair, an ideally designed desk, improved footrests, comfortable wrist rests, an adjustable monitor, an ergonomic keyboard, and a well-positioned mouse.
The features of the chair with an ergonomic design are,
There are five principles of Ergonomics:
Having this kind of furniture at your workplace and home can help avoid injuries/issues like bad posture or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, muscle pulls, cramps etc. Hence it is imperative that you have ergonomic designs implemented both at your workplace and homes.
Ergonomic shoes are an extremely useful accessory for those who have experienced foot/leg pains their entire lives. These have been designed with an anatomical arch support which keeps the feet in the correct position for proper functioning. The soles absorb shock and pain by reducing the pressure on the heels and the entire body. These ergonomic shoes are a great investment for alleviating back, knee and foot pain in the long run.