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Five tips for more ergonomics at the workplace

For a long time, the topic of "ergonomics in the workplace" was not given enough importance. Companies focused primarily on increasing sales and more than let employee health slide. The result? Chronic back pain, tension and unmotivated employees. 

Since employees are known to be the engine of any company, productivity suffers greatly from a lack of ergonomics. After all, without driving force, no performance can be achieved. So instead of asking staff to settle for the office's inventory, furniture should instead be adapted to the needs and requirements of employees. We'll show you how to make ergonomics a permanent part of your workplace with five simple tips. 

The ergonomic office chair - The heart of ergonomics

At first glance, working at a desk seems very relaxing. However, a closer look reveals that a job in the office is not only a challenge for the mind, but also for the body. On average, employees spend around eight hours in front of a screen in the office. The constant sitting can become a physical strain - especially if the individual components of the office chair are not optimally adapted to the employee. 

Seat height

The perfect seat height is individual and depends on your own body size and comfort requirements. The majority of office chairs - such as the RECARO Rae and RECARO EXO - have a lever on the underside of the seat that allows you to adjust the seat height as needed. When adjusting, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • The feet should have a firm footing on the floor
  • Pelvis and knee must be in a perpendicular relationship to each other
  • The back should be in contact with the backrest at all times
  • If the arms are placed on the desk, the lower and upper arms should form a right angle
  • There should be some space between the back of the knees and the front edge of the office chair

Those who do not trust their own sense of proportion can use a formula to calculate the seat height: Dividing the height in centimeters by the factor 3.72.

Seat

Anyone who can stand sitting on a chair for a long time is popularly said to have "seat meat". In fact, sitting for hours is no art if the seat is well equipped. Seat cushions with foam geometry prevent painful pressure points and ensure maximum comfort. Dimensionally stable multi-zone foam ensures optimum distribution of weight on the chair. In addition, the seat should provide sufficient space for the buttocks and thighs of the sitter. 

Backrest

The right backrest can promote physical and mental well-being, increase concentration and lift the worker's good mood. Dynamic models mimic the body's movements to support the seated posture in any position. The sitter is pleasantly encouraged to maintain an upright and straight posture. Mobility is advanced and static, fatiguing sitting is prevented. 

In addition, it is essential to choose an office chair with a backrest that matches your own measurements. If the length is not sufficient, comfortable sitting is not possible. The shoulders are located in the neck area, which automatically causes the worker to form a hump. In contrast, very small people on a standard size office chair is not possible to rest the head on the soft head cushion. 

Lumbar support

The lumbar support picks up on the natural S-shape of the spine and pushes the upper body into an ergonomically correct sitting position. The correct position of this component relieves the lumbar spine and protects the intervertebral discs. To achieve this goal, the backrest must be adjusted so that the lumbar support is directly level with the iliac crest. This is the case when the waistline is reached. 

A large number of office workers tend to set the backrest too high, as this is perceived as comfortable. However, with a little patience, one very quickly gets used to the lowering of the lumbar support. 

Synchronous mechanism

The synchronous mechanism is the epitome of dynamic sitting. In contrast to the static office chair, the backrest and seat follow the movements and thus guarantee a natural posture. The body is nourished by the lively alternation of tension and relaxation, pushing and pulling movements, loading and unloading. These dynamic processes are underlined by a modern synchronous mechanism. 

Like the other components, the mechanism must be adjusted to the weight and length of the upper body. Correct parameters are achieved when you can lean without almost toppling over and straighten up without using your abdominal muscles. 

Armrest

In outdated models, the height of the arm lengths is predefined. Modern versions allow individual adaptations. Proper adjustment of the armrest ensures that the shoulder girdle is freed from the weight of the arms. It is recommended to rely on a 90-degree angle between the upper and lower arms. 

The desk - the ideal height for working

The desk also plays an important role in ergonomics at the workplace. Comfortable work is only possible if the arms can be placed at the famous right angle. This can be achieved with a height-adjustable desk. Furthermore, the height of the monitor must be adjusted to one's own sitting height. With the help of a monitor elevator, the screen can be aligned so that the eyes are at the same height as the upper edge of the display. This quickly puts an end to neck pain and shoulder tension. 

The work surface - enough space for the equipment

A desk has not earned the name "workstation" until it has a minimum depth of 80 centimeters and width of 160 centimeters. Screens should be positioned so that they are an arm's length away from the face. A minimum distance of 10 centimeters between the keyboard and the edge of the work surface should be maintained. 

The environment - pleasant room temperature and lighting

The desk and office chair can be excellently designed, but if the working environment is not inviting, it has a strong impact on motivation. Daylight in the office is an absolute must. The gentle rays of the sun lift the spirits and have an impact on the overall health of employees. Artificial lighting should be indirect. Accordingly, light sources on the desk should be avoided. 

According to the Workplace Ordinance, a minimum temperature is mandatory in German offices. However, when the thermometer approaches the 25-degree limit, the error rate drops from 25 to 10 percent. Humidity levels of between 40 and 60 percent continue to have a supporting effect. 

The soundscape - quiet for more concentration

Of course, social contacts must not be neglected while working. Communication with work colleagues is highly valued in German offices and is an essential part of everyday working life. Nevertheless, a study by Cornell University in Ithaca reveals that a high noise level reduces performance and causes stress. Partitions can be used to ensure that the recommended 55 db is not exceeded. 

Why is ergonomics important in the workplace?

Ergonomics in the workplace has become a quality feature of employers. Measures such as the ergonomic office chair, a height-adjustable desk and a pleasant working environment allow office employees to realize their full potential and help their own company grow. In addition, the ergonomic workplace functions not only as a means of health promotion, but also as a preventive measure. 

Feature text for the ergonomic office chair: nowadays, the ergonomic office chair is considered the secret weapon in the workplace. Designed with ergonomics in mind and adapted to the individual requirements of the employee, the office chair supports a natural sitting posture and promotes the productivity of office workers.