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Seattle, WA: 206-521-5676 Olympia, WA: 360-236-8748 Portland/Salem, OR: 503-768-9742 San Diego, CA: 877-976-9462 Info@SolutionsNW.com
5 Tips to Turn Your Home Office into a Productive and Ergonomic Workspace

5 Tips to Turn Your Home Office into a Productive and Ergonomic Workspace

5 Tips to Turn Your Home Office into a Productive and Ergonomic Workspace Virtual Ergonomics Assessment

When people think about working from home, they wonder if they could ever be as productive as sitting in a real office. However, it may surprise you that people can actually be more productive working at home than in a traditional office setting. Employees are happier, more comfortable, and less likely to leave their jobs.

The question is, how can you create an ergonomic workspace in a home environment? Ergonomics is just as much about efficiency as it is about being comfortable. 

Keep reading for our top five tips on how to turn your home office into an ergonomic workstation.

1. Remove distractions.

One of the most important things about creating an ergonomic workplace in the home is getting rid of distractions. The environment has to feel like an office, not a spare bedroom. 

Bring in the necessities for work, add some decor, and personalize the space how you like it. However, be sure to remove distracting items such as TVs, your phone, and anything else that might draw your attention away.Remote Worker Ergonomics Assessment

If you live with others, be sure to let them know not to disturb you during certain work hours. Establish a routine and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to close the door or shut off devices – you’re at work.

2. Get up and move.

Studies show that those who sit at a computer need to get up once every 30 minutes to stretch and walk around. While it may sound like a huge interruption twice an hour, it helps people maintain better focus. Without these small breaks, productivity starts to slow down.

Getting up every 30 minutes can also have a positive effect on your health.

3. Get a comfortable chair.

Just because you’re getting up periodically throughout the day, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a high-quality, supportive chair in your ergonomic workspace. Sitting for most of the day has several negative side effects on the human body, such as: reinforced poor posture, increased risk of weight gain, back pain, neck pain.

Getting a chair designed to improve your posture can help with many of these issues.

4. Consider investing some money when designing your workstation setup.

No matter how nice your chair is, the best ergonomic workstations allow you to work while sitting or standing. It would be incredibly beneficial to invest in a desk that can raise and lower, much like most office chairs. 

There are also many ergonomic alternatives to standard devices like a keyboard and mouse. Check a few out here: https://www.solutionsnw.com/2019/01/16/3-ergonomic-gadgets-every-office-should-try/

5. Get an Ergonomics Assessment from a professional.

Some ergonomic fixes you can do for free. For example, ensuring you’ve correctly set up your monitor (setting your monitor at eye level and arm’s length away) can help prevent neck pain and eye strain. However, other adjustments may require a professional ergonomics assessment.

Right now, Solutions Northwest Inc. is running a special for $50 Virtual Ergonomics Assessments (all you need is access to e-mail or a smart phone) in order to assist remote workers and others that are new to working at home.

Working from home can be a challenge. Whether your wrists are hurting from improper mouse ergonomics or your back and neck are in pain – there are a variety of low cost, creative solutions which an ergonomics consultant can recommend for temporary work from home situations.

In conclusion, consider investing in your workspace for increased productivity and comfort.

Between the rise of technology and global health scares, it seems like at-home work is becoming a staple in modern societies. While this can be limiting in some ways, it also provides a lot of opportunities for people. However, to prove yourself as an asset from work or home, you must take the time and money to create an ergonomic workspace.

Looking for More Tips on How to Create an Ergonomic Workspace? Contact us at SolutionsNW.com, we will be happy to help you!

At SolutionsNW.com we value the importance of a positive workplace culture. Part of a positive workplace is a safe workplace, Contact Us to schedule an ergonomics consultation or ergonomics assessment for your office today.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics evaluations available in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

 

Contact the Ergonomics Experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. Below:

Multiple Locations

Corporate Office: 120 State Ave. NE #397
Olympia, WA 98501
Business Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Corporate FAX: 360-866-4773
Email: Info@solutionsnw.com

San Diego, CA

877-976-9462

Olympia, WA

360-236-8748

Portland/Salem, OR

503-768-9742

Seattle, WA

206-521-5676

Contact our Ergonomics Experts

Alternative Keyboard Styles and Ergonomic Designs That Reduce Pain

Alternative Keyboard Styles and Ergonomic Designs That Reduce Pain

Alternative Keyboard Styles and Ergonomic Designs That Reduce Pain

We all spend a lot of time on computers, laptops, and tablet devices. While they are convenient and allow us to connect with colleagues and clients, overuse can lead to wrist, neck, and back pain. Pain and injury all comes down to ergonomic issues, and the culprit is often the keyboard you’re using.

Remote Worker Ergonomics AssessmentWhat kind of keyboard styles can reduce pain? We explain why ergonomics matters when it comes to your wrists and look at alternatives such as the Dvorak keyboard.

The Problem with Modern Keyboards

If you spend hours each day on a computer, you can begin to develop wrist pain. The reason comes down to the design of modern computer keyboards versus old-fashioned manual/electric typewriters.

Why do modern keyboards cause more pain?

Operating a manual or electrical typewriter involved your whole arm and other muscles. Thus, the movement was more evenly distributed throughout your body.

With the modern keyboard design, your fingers, wrists, and forearms do most of the work. The low-profile design of most laptops and desktops also requires you to reach to touch the keys, which puts your body in an awkward position.

Keyboards have also gotten smaller, which means your wrists are closer together, causing them to bend at an awkward angle.

Even the modern computer arrangement in most offices conspires against us. The normal setup has you hunching forward to peer into a monitor. This puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in your arms and hands.

Is it any wonder that we would develop pain, tingling, numbness, and lethargy in our arms and wrists after years of sitting and typing in awkward positions?

However, there are alternative keyboards that may provide relief for wrist pain.

Overview of Keyboard Styles:

 

QWERTY Keyboard

  • The QWERTY keyboard is the most common type of keyboard. The term comes from the fact that the first six letters in the upper left corner spell “QWERTY”. This layout was introduced with the Remington No. 2 back in 1878. Modern computer keyboards (and even tablets and smartphones) kept this same design since people were already familiar with it.

Non-QWERTY Keyboards

  • There are a few alternatives to the old-fashioned keyboard. Let’s look at QWERTY vs. Dvorak.

    The Dvorak keyboard was patented in 1936. The design places the most commonly used keys in the “home row”. The least commonly used keys are placed in the bottom row. In theory, the design is meant to be more efficient and allow for faster typing.

Ergonomic Keyboards

  • You can find ergonomic keyboards that will ease the strain on your wrist, neck, and back. They will also help reduce issues such as Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).

Some designs have a fixed curve, while others feature two halves with an adjustable hinge. Still other models feature two separate halves that are only connected by a wire. These provide a lot more flexibility and room for adjustment.

Consider adding more ergonomic accessories to your workstation.

You can also look for accessories that offer ergonomic relief. There are ergonomic mice designed for either right-handed or left-handed orientations. You can also find mice in different sizes for a more comfortable fit.

Another alternative is a trackball mouse. With this design, the mouse remains stationary while a tracker ball (aka rollerball or trackball) controls the movement of the curser.

If you have a laptop, consider buying an adjustable laptop desk, which raises the screen to reduce strain on your neck and back. You can buy a separate keyboard, which remains on the desk so your wrists are aligned in the proper position.

 In conclusion, reduce wrist strain and pain with ergonomic alternatives to the status quo.

The modern computer set up can unfortunately lead to wrist pain. Alternative layouts like the Dvorak, as well as other non-QWERTY keyboard styles could be beneficial.

You should also look at ergonomically designed keyboards and accessories such as a mouse, laptop desks, and standing desks. If you have questions, Contact Us at SolutionsNW.com, we will be happy to help you find keyboards and other accessories that can reduce your wrist pain. Take a look at our Virtual Ergonomics Assessments for remote workers as well.

At SolutionsNW.com we value the importance of a positive workplace culture. Part of a positive workplace is a safe workplace, Contact Us to schedule an ergonomics consultation or ergonomics assessment for your office today.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics evaluations available in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

Contact the Ergonomics Experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. Below:

Multiple Locations

Corporate Office: 120 State Ave. NE #397
Olympia, WA 98501
Business Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Corporate FAX: 360-866-4773
Email: Info@solutionsnw.com

San Diego, CA

877-976-9462

Olympia, WA

360-236-8748

Portland/Salem, OR

503-768-9742

Seattle, WA

206-521-5676

Contact our Ergonomics Experts

Assessing What Support Your Back Needs in Your Home Office

Assessing What Support Your Back Needs in Your Home Office

Assessing What Support Your Back Needs in Your Home Office

Are you sitting at your desk right now? Are you slumped over, elbows on the desk, with your head in your hand? Or are you sitting up straight?

Posture is important not only for the health of your spine but can help you feel more productive in your work environment. Proper lumbar support is one of the most important aspects your home office should have.

Keep reading for our tips for and recommendations for your home office and how to better support your back.

Remote Worker Ergonomics AssessmentWhy is lumbar support important? 

People who spend many hours a day at their desks or work at a computer are more likely to slouch or lean in their chairs.

This can lead to long-term back pain, stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, neck strain, leg pain, and other potential spine issues. If you’ve ever had back pain, you know how easy it can put you out of commission.

If you’re working remotely, chances are your home office is not as ergonomic as your desk at work. A good office chair offers lumbar support and helps your spine maintain its natural curve. Without support for your back, you are more likely to slouch or sit in awkward positions.

Learn what good lumbar support entails. 

A chair with good lumbar support should allow you to sit up straight with your back flush against the chair and at the small of your back.

The proper position you should assume at your desk is:

          • Head back, over your shoulders, not leaning forward or backward
          • Chest out
          • Tailbone tucked in
          • Feet slightly apart and a few inches ahead of your knees

This new posture may cause muscle fatigue at first if you are not used to it. Having a chair or cushions that hold the shape of your spine may help you adjust to this seated position.

The height of your desk, chair, and computer also play important roles in maintaining your posture and support for your back. Your desk should be between 24 and 34 inches high, depending on your height.

Your head should be around 20 to 30 inches, or an arm’s length, away from your computer screen. The height of your seat should allow you to comfortably sit with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent at an angle slightly larger than 90 degrees.

Investing in an adjustable desk may be a good option for you. An adjustable sit-stand desk has been shown to increase employee productivity and help back and neck pain.

Consider having a remote ergonomics assessment.

Remote ergonomics assessments are a low-cost solution to setting up your home office. For example, ergonomics companies like Solutions Northwest Inc. offer virtual ergonomics assessments for as low as $50. An ergonomics consultant will consult with you over e-mail, phone, or webcam and recommend improvements to your workstation.

While you may be required to purchase new equipment, these types of investments will pay off in the long run. Working in a properly setup workstation leads to more productivity and less pain. Read our article “3 Reasons Every Remote Worker Needs a Remote Ergonomics Assessment” to learn why we believe every remote and home office worker needs a professional ergonomics assessment.

In conclusion, don’t ignore your home desk ergonomics.

Whether you’re doing remote work once in a while or permanently working from home, make sure your home office has the right ergonomic set up to avoid back pain.

For more information about how to support your back properly in your home office, check out the rest of our ergonomics blog, or contact us with questions.

At SolutionsNW.com we value the importance of a positive workplace culture. Part of a positive workplace is a safe workplace, Contact Us to schedule an ergonomics consultation or ergonomics assessment for your office today.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics evaluations available in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

 

Contact the Ergonomics Experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. Below:

Multiple Locations

Corporate Office: 120 State Ave. NE #397
Olympia, WA 98501
Business Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Corporate FAX: 360-866-4773
Email: Info@solutionsnw.com

San Diego, CA

877-976-9462

Olympia, WA

360-236-8748

Portland/Salem, OR

503-768-9742

Seattle, WA

206-521-5676

Contact our Ergonomics Experts

5 Signs Its Time for an Ergonomics Assessment

5 Signs Its Time for an Ergonomics Assessment

Do you want a productive team that’s healthy and happy? If so, find out if you need to invest in an ergonomics assessment here.

5 Signs Its Time for an Ergonomics Assessment
Ergonomics Consultants, Office Assessments, | Solutions Northwest Inc.

In order to enjoy a more productive work environment, employees need to be physically comfortable and safe in the workplace.

Thoughtfully designing an employee’s workstation or purchasing ergonomic furniture and ergonomic devices at work can increase employee wellness. Additionally, an ergonomically sound workspace will help prevent things like back and neck pain or carpal tunnel syndrome for workers.

If your office admin or management is thinking of getting an ergonomics assessment at your place of business, read on for six signs it’s time to get one scheduled.

1. Employee injuries on the rise? It’s time for an ergonomics assessment.

If more employees are starting to complain about back or neck pain at work, it could be time for an ergonomics assessment. Health issues like carpal tunnel syndrome, a sore neck, or repetitive stress injuries among your employees are all serious red flags. If cost is an issue, be mindful that when employees feel uncomfortable or they’re in pain, it will reflect in their work, which makes this such an important issue for businesses of all kinds.

An ergonomics assessment will save a business money in the long run and protect the health of workers.

2. If your workplace has never heard of an ergonomics assessment, it probably needs one.

Maybe you’ve been using the same old furniture for years and never really thought there was a problem.

With a good review of your office and proper ergonomics procedures, you’ll begin to realize just how important this is to a productive, positive workplace.

4. You want to promote a healthy lifestyle at work.

Employers who care deeply about their employees want them to be happy and healthy. If you find yourself inspired by other companies who are promoting workplace wellness, consider an ergonomics assessment to help you get started.
 
You’ll be proud of the changes an ergonomics assessment can make in promoting health for everyone.

4. If nobody has ever done an ergonomics assessment before.

If nobody has ever performed a proper ergonomics assessment of your office or workspace, it’s very likely that employees are experiencing some discomfort at their workstations.

It is recommend that every office have the contact information of an ergonomics specialist or ergonomics consultant if they want to ensure a happy and healthy work environment.

5. When your work needs a productivity boost.

A combination of increased stress and workplace-related injuries, unhappy employees, and outdated furniture can lead to a slowdown in productivity at work.

Conversely, when management invests into ensuring that employees have a healthy, safe, and productive workplace, companies receive a spike in productivity and happiness. According to the University of Warwick, “happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive.”

In conclusion, make worker’s health a priority in your workplace.

Since you value the hard work your employees put in every single day, an ergonomics assessment or consultation can help improve the entire environment of your business.

If you are not an office administrator or manager, we suggest contacting your office’s human resource department to see about conducting an ergonomics assessment to determine how to best combat too much sitting in the workplace.

Visit SolutionsNW.com to learn more about the importance of workplace ergonomics or Contact Us to schedule an ergonomics consultation.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA.

5 Ways to Persuade Your Boss to Have an Ergonomics Workstation Assessment

5 Ways to Persuade Your Boss to Have an Ergonomics Workstation Assessment

Post By: Solutions Northwest, Inc.
Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California

You love your job but wish your company would incorporate an ergonomic workstation. Here’s how to convince your boss it’s not a luxury but a matter of health.

Modern working environments don’t always support our bodies or minds. For example, sitting at a desk and typing away five days a week for eight hours straight can be taxing on your body. 

Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Assessing your workstation to make it suitable for a human being is the first step and the next is tailoring it to your own specific body. Not only will employees benefit from an ergonomics assessment, but so will the entire company.

However, some bosses or managers can’t see the whole picture. Some bosses may think uniformity, and streamlined workspaces are more cost-efficient, but they are often incorrect. We’re going to cover a few ideas of how you can persuade your boss to allow an ergonomic workstation assessment.

How to Persuade Your Boss for an Ergonomic Workstation Assessment

Sometimes we must speak up to get what we need at work. Here’s what you can try:

1. Prepare your reasoning with facts.

There are a lot of solid arguments for ergonomic adjustments to your workspace. They are often backed by solid research and biological explanations as to why humans shouldn’t sit for long periods of time, for example. 

Research shows that having an ergonomic workstation will improve the quality of work you do, employees will be happier, and it will save the company money in the long run with less injury and better productivity. Explore our Ergonomics Blog for plenty of facts to back up your reasoning.

2. Supply options for ergonomics consultants.

Go online and do your research. Prepare a list of local ergonomics consultants that your boss can choose from. This will make it easier to get the conversation started and show that you’re serious about getting an ergonomics assessment for your workstation as soon as possible.

3. Cite personal health.

If you have a history of back problems, you can use that as a perfectly reasonable argument for having an ergonomic update. 

You don’t necessarily need to have medical information to back that claim up, either. A reasonable employer will take you at your word and support your health.

4. Discuss the business benefits.

There’s a growing body of evidence that performing an ergonomics assessment on your workstation will save the company money. According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months.”

The reasoning makes sense, an ergonomic workstation leads to less injury, more efficient work, happier employees, and better overall job performance.

5. Talk with your Doctor

The final resort could be obtaining a doctor’s note for legitimate medical concerns.

Having support from a medical professional should be enough to warrant improvements to your workspace.

In conclusion.

An ergonomic workstation is something that many of us need. Ideally, we would all work in spaces that were optimal for our health. A solid understanding of health concerns and different options available to you will be a huge help in your search to find ergonomic improvements that support your lifestyle.

Explore our site for more help and information on ergonomics. To keep up with the newest trends in office safety and the ergonomics industry subscribe to our blog.

These 5 ergonomics tips come courtesy of  Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants and work safety experts located in Washington State, San Diego,  California, Oregon, Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, and Portland.

How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics - How to improve your workstation for efficiency and productivity.

“Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Your job performance is greatly affected by how well your workstation is arranged. If you work in clutter, with distraction, or without proper ergonomics, then you are setting yourself up to be less efficient in the workplace.

Get organized in 5 steps:

  1. Start by throwing out everything you don’t need.  It could take a while to throw away the clutter at your workstation, however, you should take the day to do this until only the essentials are left.
  2. Use physical boxes and trays for paperwork. Purchase a tray or use an empty box to create 3 separate boxes: incoming paperwork, paperwork you’re working on, and paperwork that is finished. Place your inbox and outbox near the entrance of your workstation for easy delivery and retrieval.
  3. Put unnecessary items out of sight. Items like your phone charger, your sunglasses, or your wallet may be essential to you, but not to your work. Put these items in a drawer for safe keeping and less clutter. Additionally, put items like stamps, tape, or staplers in a drawer of their own when not being used.
  4. Throw stuff away! Instead of hording all that old paperwork, get a big trash can that you can throw all of it in and keep your mind focused on the job.
  5. Organize your computer desktop. It may not be physical clutter, but if your desktop screen is littered with icons of random files and shortcuts, then you will have a harder time working efficiently. Create folders, delete old files, and establish a system to make it easy to find the files and programs you need.
Ergonomics Consultants | Solutions Northwest Inc.

Get rid of distractions.

Identify distractions and eliminate them during times when you need to focus.

This could be as simple as closing your door (if your office has one) or turning off e-mail notifications. It may sound scary to make yourself unavailable, but most jobs don’t require instant response to e-mails. In fact, it is recommended to designate specific times of the workday for e-mails and texts.

Lastly, schedule a time to check-in with yourself and note how much work you have accomplished so far. If you’re behind due to distractions, consider refining your strategy until you’re satisfied with your pace of work.

Invest in a comfortable workstation.

Does your workstation have an ergonomic mouse and keyboard? Is your computer monitor, desk, and chair adjusted properly for your height? If you don’t know, then you may want to reach out to your office administrator or human resources director to find out. If you are the manager or admin, then be sure you’ve acquainted yourself with the best ergonomics practices and ergonomics gadgets to avoid injury.

The best way to setup your workstation is by investing in an ergonomics assessment. An ergonomics professional will design a workstation that will allow employees to work faster with less effort. Proper posture, fewer motions, less difficult reaches, and less exertion means efficient employees and a higher quality product.  “Businesses report an average increase of 25% in productivity and a 67% reduction in errors after an ergonomic assessment” according to WSDLI.

Don’t be afraid of investing in a comfortable work environment, it will make your office happier and more productive, which pays off in the long run.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, “on average, an ergonomics assessment will pay for itself in about 8.4 months” due to more efficient and happier workers. In fact, happiness alone “led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive” according to the University of Warwick,

In conclusion

Go the extra mile by organizing your workstation, removing distractions, and investing in proper ergonomics evaluations or ergonomics tools. You and your co-workers will work faster, for longer periods of time, and experience less pain in your wrists, back, neck, and hands due to a proper workstation setup.

Share or print out these tips for the rest of the office workers or employees and for more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for ergonomics guidance.

Subscribe to our ergonomics blog for more ergonomics tips from Solutions Northwest Inc., ergonomics consultants located in: Seattle, WA, Tacoma, WA, Olympia, WA, Vancouver, WA, Kent, WA Renton, WA, Beaverton, OR, Portland, OR, Salem, OR, San Diego, CA, Carlsbad, CA, La Jolla, CA, Irvine, CA, Costa Mesa, CA, Newport Beach, CA. d.

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