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6 Ways to Tell Your Workstation isn't Ergonomic

27 February 2023

Many of the problems you experience at work are because of poor workstation ergonomics. From stiffness in the body to lower back pain to headaches, poor workstation ergonomics can harm you in more ways than you can imagine. Not many people realize this, and they continue working in poor ergonomic conditions and, as a result, often fall prey to serious consequences.

If you can identify that your workstation isn't designed well in terms of ergonomics, you can take steps to improve workstation ergonomics before you start experiencing any serious problems. But this is where the actual challenge lies. Most people don't even realize that their body is showing signs that their workstation isn't ergonomic and that they need to do something about it.

Well, this is what we're here to help you with. We've listed some prominent signs that can tell that your workstation isn't ergonomic so that you can stay a step ahead and save yourself from the serious health consequences of poor workstation ergonomics. We'll also shed light on some of the best ways to improve the ergonomics of your workstation. Let's get going!

How Can You Tell Your Workstation isn't Ergonomic?

Most people today have desk jobs where they're seated in front of their computer for several hours at a stretch. This puts them at risk of health conditions like posture-related musculoskeletal disorders, which, if not addressed on time, can result in lifelong complications. If your workstation isn't ergonomic and you aren't comfortable at work, your body will give signs. If you can identify these signs, you'll be able to act proactively before poor ergonomics get better for your health and well-being.

Below is a list of the signs that you need to look out for if you suspect that your workstation isn't the most ergonomic:

1. You Feel Uncomfortable Working at Your Workstation

Ergonomics is all about enhancing comfort. If you're uncomfortable working at your workstation, it's a sign that it isn't ergonomic. If you don't work actively to make your workstation comfortable, know that you'll soon be headed to injury. There could be several reasons why you experience discomfort. It's possible that your work desk or chair isn't the right height, making you sit in an uncomfortable position at work. It's also possible that your workstation setup isn't correct like your keyboard and mouse are too far from you, your monitor isn't the right height, or your phone is placed far away. All of these factors influence workstation ergonomics and make you uncomfortable.

2. You Experience Lower Back Pain

Another sign that your workstation isn't ergonomic is that you experience lower back pain. Most people who work in poor ergonomic conditions complain about pain in the lower back. If your workstation isn't the right height or your chair doesn't offer adequate lumbar support, you're bound to experience lower back pain. This is because poor workstation ergonomics make you sit in an incorrect posture, which puts a strain on the lower back and causes pain in the lower back.

3. Your Shoulders Hurt

If your shoulders hurt, know that your workstation isn't ergonomic. Your shoulders will hurt if the items you use during work aren't at the right height. For example, if your files are placed too high, and you've got to lift your arm and shoulder multiple times during the day to fetch them, or your keyboard isn't at the right height, and you've to sit with slumped shoulders all day long, your shoulders will hurt at the end of the day.

4. You Experience Pain in the Wrists

Pain in the wrists is another notable sign that your workstation isn't ergonomic. Hurting wrists is an alarming sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome resulting from poor typing ergonomics. You'll position your hands incorrectly when your keyboard isn't placed correctly during typing. When your wrists rub against the keyboard, the nerve passing through the wrists gets compressed, resulting in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This condition is characterized by a numbing or tingling sensation in the fingers which can make typing very painful.

5. You Experience Persistent Headaches

Everyone gets a headache every now and then, and it's absolutely normal. However, if the headaches have become a routine thing for you, don't take them lightly. Persistent headaches are a sign that something's not right. Most of the time, headaches are due to poor workstation ergonomics. If your computer monitor isn't placed at the right height, distance, or angle, you can get headaches. This is because the incorrect placement of the computer monitor strains the eyes, which can lead to headaches. Incorrect placement of the computer monitor also strains the neck, which can cause tension headaches as well.

6. You Don't Experience Any Pains During the Weekends

Observe closely to see if the pains (neck, shoulders, back) you experience during the week persist over the weekend. If they don't, it's a sure-shot sign that your problems are due to poor working conditions and workstation ergonomics.

How to Improve Workstation Ergonomics?

The sooner you start working towards improving the ergonomics of your workstation, the better it will be for your health and well-being. We've listed some of the best ways to improve workstation ergonomics to make your time at work safer.

Invest in an Ergonomic Work Desk

Investing in an ergonomic work desk is the first thing you need to do to make your workstation ergonomic. An ergonomic work desk will allow you to adjust the height of your workstation according to your preferences so that you don't sit in an incorrect posture. Sitting in an incorrect posture, as you know by now, puts you at risk of neck, shoulder, and neck pain, which are initial symptoms of posture-related musculoskeletal disorders. If you're tall, you can raise the desk so that you don't have to work with your back curved and your head bent forward, which can strain the back and neck. If you're short in height, you can lower the desk's height so that you don't have to sit with your back and neck stretched and your shoulders raised awkwardly. You can adjust the height of your work desk such that you're able to work in a neutral posture.

Replace Your Office Chair

The next thing that'll instantly improve the ergonomics of your workstation is an ergonomic office chair. Ergonomic office chairs encourage the users to sit in the correct posture with their feet placed flat on the floor and the back fully supported by the backrest. Unlike regular office chairs, an ergonomic chair comes with an adjustable height feature. It also allows the users to adjust the seat depth, backrest, and even armrests so that they sit comfortably throughout the day without stress on any part of their body, especially the lower back.

Install an Adjustable Monitor Mount

Ideally, the computer monitor should be at an arm's distance, at an eye level, right in front of the user so that the user doesn't have to bend or tilt their head to view the contents on the screen. Unfortunately, that's not often the case. When the computer screen is too high, the user has to sit with a chin-out posture. If it's too low, the user has to sit with their head bent forward. If the monitor is too far or too close, it causes eye strain. And if the computer monitor isn't at the right angle, the user will have to tilt their head which will cause neck strain. To correct the position of your computer monitor, you should consider installing an adjustable monitor mount that'll enable you to adjust the height, distance, and angle of your computer monitor.

Switch to an Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

Switching to an ergonomic keyboard and mouse will also significantly improve your workstation's ergonomics. It'll reduce the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by encouraging users to correctly position their hands on the keyboard and mouse. An ergonomic keyboard has a unique design that makes it easy for the user to place their hands more naturally on the keyboard so that their wrists aren't strained. Even ergonomic mice are designed ergonomically to adjust to the user's hands comfortably. Also, the keys and buttons on ergonomic keyboards and mice are softer and more sensitive so that the user doesn't have to press too hard, reducing the strain on the fingers.

Final Word

If you experience any discomfort or pain at work, don't take it lightly, even mild back pain. If the working conditions of your workplace were on-point, you wouldn't have experienced the pain at all. Your body gives out signs when it needs help, and pain is one of the most prominent ones. If you've got a desk job, it's high time you start looking out for any signs that may indicate poor workstation ergonomics so that you can start working on improving them soon. The sooner, the better!