Ergonomics – your desk setup is important to your well being

Your computer desk, it might not look like much, but if you work with your computer a lot, it’s actually a very important thing in your life. If it’s configured wrongly, you could find yourself with wrist and back pain, not to mention struggling to think or work up the motivation to do anything at all. Why is this? It’s all down to ergonomics.

Ergonomics, also known as human factors, is the science of how we interact with things like computers and desks. The theory is that even the smallest things in our environment build up over time, and can cause physical and psychological problems.

So what could happen? Consider, for example, having a chair or a desk that is the wrong height for you. It’s not wrong by much, but you have to tilt your head ever so slightly downwards to see the computer screen. Now imagine that you’re doing that every day, for six hours, for months or even years. It’s easy to see how that small problem would get magnified, until it could eventually cause you back or neck strain.

The most common ergonomics-related injuries are caused by mice (the computer kind, of course). When people are moving a mouse around every day from a slightly awkward position, they can get a condition called repetitive strain injury (RSI) that can leave them unable to move their hand at all. Although it is less common, there is a similar risk with keyboards. That’s why your equipment is so important, and it is especially important how it is positioned on your desk relative to you.

Basically, if you’re not comfortable using your computer, you’re not moaning or being awkward – you’re looking out for your safety at work. We all have to be vigilant when it comes to ergonomics, as it’s not in anyone’s interest for you to be left at home, unable to do your job.

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