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Ergonomic office furniture is important because it allows workers to maintain a more natural and comfortable position while working. This, in turn, prevents some workplace injuries linked to computer use and how a worker sits at his or her desk. There are several factors to consider when you are shopping for an ergonomic office desk, including the height, body size and gender of the user.
Unless the desk is to be used for reading blueprints or some other task that requires a higher surface, an office desk should be somewhere between 24 inches and 27 inches (61 cm and 69 cm) tall. This allows room for the arms of the chair to pass under the desktop. Anything shorter than that is likely to restrict movement. An adjustable-height office desk that can be customized to the user is the best ergonomic choice.
If a desktop computer will be used at the workstation, choose an ergonomic office desk with adjustable shelves for the keyboard and monitor, allowing you to arrange them to suit the height of the user. You should be able to raise or lower the keyboard shelf and adjust that shelf's angle, as well. Monitors should be positioned on an ergonomic office desk so the top line of type is between eye level and 15° below eye level, and a minimum of 20 inches (50.8 cm) away. Placing the monitor in this position will help to minimize neck and eye strain. The surface of the desktop also should have a dull or matte finish to reduce glare and reflections.
More people than ever before are working at desks. It is reported that 70 percent of the U.S. workforce now spends at least part of its workday sitting, often while using computers. People with poorly designed work spaces are more apt to suffer from headaches, eyestrain, and back and neck pain. They also are prone to repetitive stress injuries such as bursitis, tendinopathy, and carpal tunnel syndrome. An ergonomically designed workstation can help minimize these health problems.
When selecting furniture, you will also want to purchase an ergonomic office chair to go with your ergonomic office desk. Choose a chair that allows you to adjust the height of the seat and backrest. You also should be able to tilt the seat, and office chairs should have five-wheel bases. The chair should allow for elbows, hips, and knees to be kept at right angles while sitting.
Even with the most ergonomically correct furniture possible, workers who spend the day sitting need to take frequent breaks. It is suggested that they follow the 50-10 rule: For every 50 minutes spent sitting at a desk, they should spend 10 minutes standing. During the break, they should walk and stretch their muscles, lessening the chance that they will fall victim to work-related health issues.