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Are You Sitting Comfortably? A Fundamental Startup Guide To Office Ergonomics

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by Startacus Admin

Office ergonomics
Simple ergonomic setups & fixes can have a huge impact on your employees’ health. Here's a few suggestions that might just help, care of Safety Training Scotland...

"Your office might not seem like a dangerous place. Maybe you don’t even have an office yet. If that’s the case, think of the environment that you work in - as your office. If you’re just starting up your business, then you’re off to a good start. No bad habits to beat, and you can make sure your first office furniture is good quality stuff.

Unless your job requires serious manual labour, it’s highly unlikely that your office is filled with power tools and dangerous chemicals, or towering shelves with and forklifts to operate.

But not all hazards are obvious and sinister and easy to spot. While hazards like frayed wires and soaking wet floors are immediately identifiable by even untrained employees, other hazards are more subtle.

Chief among the subtle threats are ergonomic hazards.

An ergonomic hazard is basically any physical factor in your environment that hurts your body. Things like flimsy office Office ergonomicschairs, poor lighting and harmful noise are all common examples of ergonomic hazards.

One of the main problems with ergonomic hazards is that they don’t have an immediate effect on you, this makes them tricky to identify.

What you can do, is take a proactive approach. Ergonomics is all about creating an environment where wear and tear on the body is minimised.

Simple ergonomic setups and fixes can have a huge impact on your employees’ health, and it is your responsibility as the manager to make sure your staff are happy and healthy.

If we fast forward 5 years, would you rather have a staff of happy employees, or a staff where half are signed up to regular physio and complaining about sore shoulders? We certainly know which we’d rather see in our workplace.

The Workspace

The first thing you need to worry about is your employees work spaces.

Employees are going to spend an average of 70% of their time here, if not more.  

Having a comfortable workspace can not only improve concentration and productivity but can reduce workplace injury and strain.

Make sure your staff know how to set up their workspace with the following considerations:


Make sure there's clearance for your knees, thighs and feet under your desk. If the desk is too low and can't be adjusted, place sturdy boards or blocks under the desk legs.

If the desk is too high and can't be adjusted, raise your chair. If you’re struggling to reach the ground, get hold of a footrest to support your feet as needed

If your desk has a hard edge, you can pad the edge or use a wrist rest.

Office ergonomics


Be sure to use a chair that supports your spinal curves.

Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor.

If the chair has got armrests, adjust these so your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed.


Place the monitor directly in front of you, at arm's length away.

Make sure the monitor is centered horizontally, and tilted slightly up.

If possible, place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side. This way you will avoid any disturbing reflections from the screen.

Keyboard and mouse

Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard shoulder distance apart.

While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows.

Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use, and try to keep your keyboard slightly negative tilted.

If possible, adjust the sensitivity of the mouse so you can use a light touch to operate it.
office lighting


Although most people associate ergonomics with computers, desks and chairs, lighting is another factor that can cause issue. Including eye strain, headaches and neck pain.

Make sure the lighting is neither too dim, too bright or worst of all - flickering. If employees have to constantly squint or strain to see their screens or books it can cause health issues as well as inefficiency.

For dim rooms add extra table lighting that can be adjusted. For bright rooms add blinds to windows or only have some of the overhead lights on at a time. And adjust the lighting to the time of the day.

Lights with a softer yellow tone are also easier on the eyes in comparison to the harsh fluorescent lights.

Try to not have computer monitors too close to windows as the light from the sun can cause glare off the screen. If you can’t change this install blinds on the window.


Some offices are nice and peaceful, others can be filled of noise from printers, to people chatting to phone calls. The volume of a typical office usually is between 40-60 dB. Generally anything higher than this can result in impaired alertness, distraction and annoyance - both of which decrease performance.

Maintaining a lower level of background noise is also important for hearing and understanding conversations correctly, whether that be in person or on the phone. However, conversations can be a distraction to others.

We recommend having a meeting room for distracting conversations. Also keeping noisy office equipment in a separate room, or by using sound-absorbing dividers or carpets to reduce the noise.

If you’re really bothered about small chat etc. it might be worth investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. Blocking off the majority of noises, it can really boost productivity.

Good office ergonomics reduce costs, improves productivity and quality of work. It creates a better safety culture and positive work environment.

Be sure to integrate breaks and train your staff in the most efficient ways to work and provide the equipment and furniture that is designed to work well with office workers."

About Safety Training Scotland

Since Safety Training Scotland was founded in 2013, it has delivered courses to over 2000 successful delegates. Training everyone from young people starting their careers to CEO’s, Safety Training Scotland has grown a well known reputation and large clientele in a short period of time. At Safety Training we’re passionate about changing the negative perception of health and safety training. Our highest priority is not just to inform, but also to engage and inspire.


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Published on: 8th December 2017

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