How's your posture right now? Are you hunching over your desk or twisting your neck to read this on your smartphone? Spending long hours in a sitting position, whether at a desk or in the tractor can easily cause aches and pains.
Ergonomics is the study of people at work and the term is associated with equipment that aims to reduce stress and eliminate injuries. It is important to have the tools that you and your team needs to prevent injury and maintain productivity. Here are five steps to help you maintain a smart posture in your farm office:
1. Evaluate Your Needs – You can hire an ergonomic specialist, or you can evaluate your needs with OSHA's workstation checklist. The checklist helps you determine the best location and distance of all items in your workspace.
2. Purchase a Quality Chair – Whether in a vehicle or at a desk, you should have a comfortable seated position. In the vehicle, you can buy lumbar support pillows or cushions. In the office, you can purchase an ergonomic chair that is adjustable to you. You will not regret it.
3. Purchase a Comfortable Keyboard and Mouse – Ergonomic keyboards often include a rest for your wrists, lift options and the keys are divided to reduce strain on your muscles. You may find that an adjustable keyboard tray is beneficial to you as well. Ergonomic mice are designed to alleviate or prevent pain. It is also helpful to have a mouse pad with a rest for your wrist. If you use a laptop for long periods, consider connecting ergonomic devices to reduce the risk of injury.
5. Adjust Your Monitor – You do not need to purchase a special monitor as most monitors are adjustable, but it is important to keep your monitor at a level that allows you to keep your head straight.
6. Stay Comfortable in Your Mobile Office – Laptops, tablets and smartphone use can result in users hunching over in a turtle-like position. The Wall Street Journal offers a web-based tool to help you calibrate your smartphone for comfortable use. Stanford also provides ergonomics guidance for mobile devices.
Have you completed an ergonomic evaluation or purchased new equipment to promote a comfortable workspace? Tell me about it in the comments below, on Twitter @nerdsquawk or via email at [email protected].
The opinions of Jessica Michael are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.