Workstation Assessment 101

Behavior, concentration, perception, productivity – all of these are directly affected by workplace conditions. And it’s not just lighting and soundscape that matter. The physical setup of an employee’s workstation can either support a comfortable, productive workday, or a painful and distracting one.

Let’s look at some simple changes you can make to help your employees do their best.

  1. Get up, stand up. Offer standing desk risers, so employees can work on their feet. Standing can relieve back pain and support your team’s overall health. To find the best fit, see this review of 40 great risers.
  2. Love your chair. For those who wish to sit, offer chairs with lower back support that allow you to adjust the height, seat, back, and armrests. Employees should be able to sit with heels on the floor and no pressure on their knees. They should be able to reach their keyboard with shoulders relaxed, elbows at a 90-degree angle, and forearms horizontal.
  3. Align the desk. Whether employees sit or stand, the monitor should be an arm’s distance from its user, positioned just below eye level. One easy way to raise the height of a monitor is to set it on a block. For petite workers, it may be helpful to lower the desk. This allows them to sit with their feet flat on the floor while maintaining proper desk and monitor alignment.
  4. Build a better mousepad. Provide wrist supports to prevent carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel injuries. Here are five ergonomic mousepads to get you started.
  5. Brighten it up (or tone it down). If the office is dim, add a desk lamp to each workstation. If there’s a glare, move desks out of the light, provide window shades, or give your team anti-glare screens.
  6. Take breaks. Encourage your team to stand up once an hour – perhaps to refill a water glass or stretch – and to look away from their screens for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Consider walking meetings when possible.
  7. Perfect the airflow. It’s difficult to think in a stuffy, warm room, and it’s hard to concentrate inside an iceberg. Based on employee feedback, fine-tune the temperature, ventilation, and humidity of your workplace by adjusting the thermostat, adding a fan, or installing a humidifier or dehumidifier.

Interested in more? Take a look at this checklist from the National Institute of Health to assess your workstations more comprehensively and remember, incremental changes do add up.