When you’re designing or decorating your office, you want to make the space both functional and attractive. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever today to create an office that incorporates both interior design principles along with ergonomics to help make the workplace more inviting and productive.
Most everyone is familiar with interior design concepts: deliberately creating a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing environment makes a space cheerful and comfortable to work in. But you should also consider ergonomics, which is a science related to the suitability of an office design to the people who work and visit there.
The Ergonomically Designed Workplace
The goal of an ergonomically designed workplace is not only to look nice, but also to take into account the capabilities and limitations of people in order to fulfill the functional requirements of the users. The way a workplace is designed can have a profound impact on the productivity of workers. With optimum equipment placement, integrating human factors into workplace design, and effectively integrating the workplace into the surrounding environment are all aspects of ergonomics.
An effective ergonomic workplace design should aim to generate intuition, teamwork, and more importantly, provide a safe, comfortable environment. Integrating ergonomic principles and interior design has become increasingly important when it comes to helping workers perform to their best abilities.
As a result, the use of effective ergonomics is a priority in modern-day office designs. The best workplaces are designed not only for people, but around people. For example, most modern offices avoid closed spaces like cubicles, instead encouraging more open, dynamic work areas.
Improving workplace ergonomics is important when it comes to preventing musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. After all, it’s in the best interest of employees and employers to create a safe and comfortable workplace. An ergonomically friendly workplace has adequate lighting that isn’t too bright, and offers options for a variety of working postures, both standing and sitting. And an ergonomically friendly workplace should definitely encourage workers to take short breaks to stretch or walk around every half hour or so.
In other words, an ergonomically designed office should be useful for most people, accommodating a wide range of individual preferences and physical ability. There should be plenty of room to move around, whether it’s for delivering interoffice mail, or taking a quick walk to get more physical activity. Windows that provide natural light and views to the outdoors are important for worker productivity, and overhead lighting should not be too harsh. Frequently used objects and equipment should be placed within easy reach of people of all sizes.
Two of the most common ergonomic products in use in modern offices include adjustable height computer workstations and adjustable keyboard trays.
Adjustable Height Desks
Most people have heard that sitting all day while working isn’t good for the human body. We need more physical activity, and one way to help increase movement is to use an adjustable height computer workstation. These desks have a surface that’s higher than an ordinary desk, because they’re designed to be used while standing, of course—but can also adjust to a height appropriate to work while sitting.
Most adjustable height computer workstations are able to accommodate people who are short or tall—and some even have electric motors that can adjust the height up and down. And, since this type of desk is a fairly modern invention, an adjustable height desk can easily be incorporated into a modern office design.
Adjustable Keyboard Trays
You can help minimize the appearance of clutter on a desktop with an under-desk keyboard tray. Because they slide under the desk for storage when not in use, an adjustable keyboard tray helps keep the desktop clear of keyboard and mouse.
But more importantly, an under-desk keyboard tray helps position a keyboard at the height that’s exactly right for each user, and helps move the keyboard into the optimal position for typing. Look for models with a tilt option, since the optimal typing position is at a negative angle, where the top of the keyboard points downward. The best ergonomics are achieved with a keyboard tray that has a separate mousing platform that can be kept level.