3 Essential Things to Ask Your Ergonomist

After many years in the field, there are common questions that come up.  And there are also questions that should be asked, but are not!

Today’s post is written with you in mind and to provide you with the 3 essential topics to ask your ergonomist during your evaluation.

Seating

  1. Is this chair the right fit for me?  This is an essential question for your ergonomist.  Most decent office chairs have adjustability and ergonomic features which is a good thing.  However, if your chair is too small for you, too big for you or simply doesn’t have features to adjust to fit you better, it might mean you need accessories like a back or seat cushion to make you more comfortable.  Then again, you might be a candidate for a different chair.  And sometimes it’s just a matter of the right adjustments.  Either way, this is a great starting point in your evaluation.
  2. What is the best height for me and my chair? A few things come into play when determining the best height for your chair.  Ideally, your set up allows you to work with your feet directly on the floor.  (If your feet don’t reach the floor, then a footrest will be your new best friend.) In that case, you want to have your feet on the floor and set your chair height so that your knees are level with, or slightly lower than your hips.  However, and this is a big however, if you cannot comfortably reach your keyboard and mouse (i.e., you have to reach up or down) then either the height of your chair has to be changed, your desk raised or lowered, or you may need to consider getting a keyboard tray.
  3. How’s my posture when I work?  You can easily defeat the greatest chair out there with poor posture.  And your posture may be compromised by the chair itself, the placement of your keyboard, mouse and monitor (or laptop) or bad habits that you have adopted over the years.  Do you slouch?  Do you hunch your shoulders?  Lean your chin in your hand?  Low ride in your chair?  If you are not sure, let your ergonomist watch you in action and give you feedback and take pictures to show you!

(If sit/stand is an option that is available to you and you are considering, please check out 5 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Sit/Stand Desk)

Computer Set Up

  1. Is my keyboard in the right place? The guidelines for this is very simple.  You want your keyboard to be at elbow level or slightly below elbow level.  BUT, you also have to make sure your elbow is hanging directly under your shoulder, not propped up on the desktop or arm rests and that they are close to your body.
  2. What about my mouse?  Like the keyboard, the mouse also should at elbow height and be positioned so that you are not having to reach forward or to the side in order to use your mouse.
  3. And how is my monitor(s) looking?  Your Monitor set up is also straight forward.  In short, your monitor height and distance should be set up so that you are able to sit or stand in an upright balanced posture and not have to crane your neck forward, slouch or look up to see.

Laptop

  1. I like to use my laptop as my main monitor.  What can I do to make things more comfortable?   The ideal situation if you are using your laptop as is on your desktop – is to prop your laptop up on a riser to bring your monitor into a comfortable viewing position  or plug your laptop into an external monitor.   Either way, you will need to use an external keyboard and mouse.
  2. I like to use my laptop as my second monitor.  How do I avoid neck and eyestrain?  The best avoid neck and eyestrain is to raise your laptop monitor by way of a laptop riser, monitor risers or a monitor arm.  This allows you to have both screens close to each other and at similar heights.
  3. I tend to move around the office (meetings, soft seating, etc.).   What is the best way to negotiate my laptop?  This is simple.  Get a docking station so that you can plug your monitor into and in some cases, your keyboard and mouse if they are wired.  Then all you need to do is unplug and plug your laptop back into place.

Of course, you may have more questions and things that pertain to you, but at a minimum, the above should have you covered!

Until the next time!

 

 

 

 

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