Training in the Cubicle Part #4 Setting up your Cubicle.

I ran across this article on

It has some good information on tips to setting up your desk and chair to reduce the stress and negative effects that we suffer during the time spent at our desks. I hope it helps you out. Also remember to watch for our cubicle exercise program coming soon!

In recent years, workers, employers and regulators have come to recognize the importance of making offices ergonomic. An ergonomic office is essential to helping prevent injuries due to cumulative trauma from repetitive tasks such as typing.

Buying ergonomic furniture or other equipment and hiring consultants to teach your workers how to protect themselves against injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome can be expensive. But the costs of not making that investment are much higher — and sometimes ruinous. Employers often must pay for medical treatment or workers´ compensation for employees injured by repetitive work. In extreme cases, workers with serious workplace-related cumulative trauma injuries have sued their employers under OSHA regulation 51(a), which requires employers to provide a safe environment for their employees.

The hidden costs of cumulative trauma injuries are even more damaging. Avoidable injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back strain cut into workers´ productivity, sometimes forcing employees to miss work or change careers altogether. In fact, experts estimate that the hidden costs of cumulative trauma injuries are two to seven times as great as the visible costs.

Before your employees complain of sore forearms or wrists or lower back pain, invest in making your office ergonomic. Think of it as an investment in your employees. The fact that you are willing to invest in their well being can also help build loyalty, boost morale and improve employee retention. And if that´s not incentive enough, consider this: OSHA has proposed standards to force employers to make their offices ergonomic.

With that in mind, try these five ways to improve the ergonomics of your office:

  • Set up computer stations properly. Desks are made for writing, not for computing. Standard desk height is 30 inches; consultants recommend 27- or 28-inch work stations for people who spend at least half of their work time at a computer. The wrong keyboard height can lead to wrist, back, neck and shoulder strain. Monitors should be set up so that the top line of type is between eye level and 15 degrees below eye level. Proper positioning can prevent neck and back problems.
  • Buy adjustable chairs. Make sure your chairs have adjustable height, rotating five-wheel bases, tiltable seats and adjustable back rests. Employees should familiarize themselves with their chairs´ features so they can position the chairs for maximum comfort. Knees, hips and elbows should be kept at right angles when sitting. If your employees share workstations or are frequently moving to different desks, encourage them to always adjust the height and backrest of whatever chair they are using that day.
  • Keep muscles fresh by providing support and adjusting position. Proper support for sensitive body parts encourages blood flow, which carries oxygen to muscles and carts away waste. Consider buying forearm rests and wrist cushions to use while typing or footrests for employees whose feet don´t rest squarely on the floor. Tell everyone to adjust their position repeatedly throughout the day so that they don´t continually fight gravity with the same muscles.
  • Set up desks so that workers can avoid repeating difficult tasks. For example, a worker shouldn´t have to make an awkward reach for a frequently used folder.
  • If you or an employee experiences physical discomfort at work, act immediately.Even a small delay can turn a small problem into a major one. And don´t hesitate to call a consultant: A single appointment could prevent a serious injury.


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What Others Are Saying

"My body has not reacted well with working a desk job.  I am only 25, but have been having a lot of pain that has built up over the past 6 months...The cubicle workouts have truly helped, I cant even begin to tell much better! Thanks Scott, love the routines!" Brandon
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