Ergonomics: Improve comfort & prevent injury

Insidesource is committed to providing you with the tools and habits needed to support and maintain a healthy work life. Ergonomics are paramount for any work environment whether in the office or in your home, so we’ve partnered with Balanced Image Ergonomics to make sure you’re benefiting from peak performance and comfort.

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI)
RSI is a condition that can affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and nerves. The cumulative effects of repetitive motions, awkward and static positions can over time result in injury of these tissues. RSI causes micro-damage and impedes blood flow needed for healing of these damaged tissues.

RSI often results from excessive or prolonged exposure to forceful, repetitive movements such as excessive typing or gripping a mouse. Awkward and static positions such as slouching in a chair, elevating the shoulders, resting arms on the desk edge or planting your wrists on a wrist rest can also result in RSI.

Pay attention to the early symptoms or “whispers” of RSI and act early.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of repetitive strain injury (RSI) helps minimize the risk of ergonomics-related injury. RSI can cause neck and back pain, tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms may include:
• Pain
• Numbness and tingling
• Stiffness or cramping
• Loss of strength (inability to hold objects)

Symptoms can come and go and are often alleviated by making changes to your office equipment set-up and by changing your habits. If, however, symptoms increase in frequency and duration, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Be sure to seek medical advice early—most symptoms are easier to treat in the early stages.

Close your eyes.
Take a slow, deep breath.
Fully exhale.

Stand, Stretch, Move!

Our Partner Balanced Image recommends that you take frequent mini-breaks at your desk and if possible change tasks regularly. Stretch gently to point of resistance. Stop if painful. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and repeat as often as possible.

Forearm Stretch

Hand Stretch

Standing Backbend

Shoulder Stretch

Desktop Setup Tips

1. MONITOR: It should tilt, swivel, and ideally be adjustable for height. Center the screen, make sure it is free of glare and that the image and text are clear and easy to read. Adjust contrast and brightness.

2. DOCUMENT HOLDER: Place close to monitor and position at the same angle as monitor.

3. MOUSE: Make sure mouse is easy to move, fits your hand comfortably, and is placed as close to the keyboard as possible. Avoid excessive shoulder and wrist angles. Instead of pivoting your wrist, move your arm.

4. KEYBOARD: Make sure keyboard is separate from the screen and adjustable. Place within easy reach and leave enough desk space for your hands and arms. Keys should be easy to depress.

5. CHAIR: Maneuverable, supportive and stable. It should have an adjustable backrest, armrests and be adjustable for height. Adjust armrests so they do not interfere with typing or using the mouse. They should not hit the desk edge.

6. PHONE: If on the phone frequently, use headset to avoid straining neck.

7. NECK: Relax and bend no more than 0-15 degrees. Look slightly down at the monitor.

8. SHOULDERS/ARMS: Relax arms at your sides and bend elbows 90-100 degrees. Arms should hang naturally from your shoulders and forearms parallel to the floor. Can change position by intermittently supporting forearms on arm rests.

9. WRISTS: Keep straight and in-line with forearms. Do not bend excessively up, down or sideways. Can intermittently rest on wrist rest. Avoid planting wrists.

10. LOWER BACK: Support with an adjustable chair backrest or back cushion.

11. HIPS & KNEES: Keep hips in line with or slightly above the knees.

12. LEGS: Support with the chair edge 1-3 inches from the back of your knee.

13. FEET: Keep flat on the floor or on a footrest if feet do not reach floor.

LAPTOP MONITOR: If using as a monitor, place it on a riser and use with an external mouse and keyboard. If using laptop keyboard to type, use external mouse and external monitor. If using laptop solely, pay attention to alignment and move your position and take breaks often.

HANDHELD DEVICES: Improper body positioning and frequent repetitive use of devices such as smart phones can also contribute to symptoms of RSI. Altering habits and proper positioning can minimize the risk of injury using these devices.

Ergo-friendly at home
Don’t worry if you have minimal furniture and equipment. Common household items will improve your current situation.

Your goal is alignment: relaxed shoulders, elbows at 90 degrees, wrists neutral, screen at eye level.

Home office desk
When using the keyboard and mouse, shoulders should be relaxed at your sides with your forearms parallel to the floor. Use books or reams of paper to raise the monitor if it is too low. Lean back into your chair for a relaxed posture with proper back support.

Laptop on table
Place pillows behind your back and on your chair to provide proper cushioning and back support. Add seat pillows until you can use the keyboard and mouse with your shoulders relaxed at your sides. If your feet are not flat on the floor, use a step stool, box, or stack of books as a footrest.

Laptop on sofa/bed
Place pillows under your legs and elevate the laptop to eye level. A pillow behind your back provides proper cushioning and back support while keeping you at an upright angle.

Balanced Image can address all of your Corporate Ergonomic Consulting needs. They offer in-depth ergonomic program development and management, day-to-day program coordination, workstation and VC work from home evaluations, virtual work from home workshops, and ergonomic workplace design assessments. Reach out to their team to learn more about their custom, scalable programs >