There are many factors that play a role in achieving a healthy and positive working environment. Everything from noise to an unhealthy indoor climate can take a physical and mental toll on your health and well-being.
Your immediate working area is a good place to start in terms of specific and manageable changes that you can implement yourself, without needing wider input from colleagues and management. So let’s start by taking a look at your workstation:
1. Your chair should be adjustable, and adjusted so that it properly supports your back. We recommend that you sit with your feet resting flat on the floor, while keeping your ankle, knee and hip joints at an angle of at least 90 degrees.
2. Your screen should be tilted slightly away from you, with the top approximately at your eye level. To find the best distance between you and the screen, sit straight up in your chair and stretch your arms out in front of you, until your clenched fists touch the screen. This is the optimal distance between you and the screen.
3. Your desk should also be height-adjustable, and enable you to alternate between a seated and standing working position. Your arms should rest on the desk, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
4. The lighting should preferably be adjustable, and positioned so that it doesn’t dazzle you.
5. The keyboard should be low and narrow so you don’t strain your wrists and arms. Find a keyboard with a negative tilt to minimise the strain on your fingers and the back of your hands as much as possible. The keyboard should be placed in what we call “the ideal working area”, which is the area your hands can easily reach with your elbows close to your body.
6. Your mouse should allow variation in your movements. Find an adjustable mouse that you can adapt to suit you, or use a centred mouse, which will both provide support and allow you to work within “the ideal working area”.
To find the ideal working area, keep your elbows close to your body. Everything you can reach with your hands in this position is in the ideal working area. Your main work tools should all be within this area. Tools that you use less often can be placed in the yellow area indicated in the image, at a distance that you can easily reach with your arms but without twisting or stretching the body. Your work tools should not be in the red area, which should be where you keep lights, plants and similar objects that you don’t need to use daily.
Once your workstation and immediate working area are adapted to be comfortable for you to work in, you can turn your attention to the wider working environment in your office. Try also to achieve some variation in your routines throughout the day, as this also promotes your well-being and performance at work. An ideal workday does not solely depend on an ideal working area.
Check out our 5 easy steps for a varied workday