What Does Ergonomics Mean and What Are Its Core Tenets?

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Today’s work commonly takes place sitting at a desk, using a computer. Studies are now showing that this type of sedentary work style of sitting for a long time – whether it is at a desk or behind a wheel – can cause serious health problems. Sitting for eight hours a day with no physical activity can have the same effects as being obese or smoking

In order to counter these effects, designers have started examining the workplace for ways to make work life healthier. Many new ergonomic designs have been created to address the effects of sedentary work.

Have you heard the term but are still left wondering, what does ergonomics mean? Read on for all you need to know about the core tenets of this important design philosophy.

What Does Ergonomics Mean?

Ergonomics is a type of design that studies how to make a workplace both efficient and comfortable. It addresses things like the height of the arms on your chair and the angle of your computer screen, in order to minimize discomfort and negative physical effect. Ergonomic design has been applied to desks, chairs, lighting, and computers. 

Central Tenets of Ergonomics

At its core, ergonomics designs work spaces for efficiency and human comfort. There are a few central tenets that ergonomic designers work towards:

1. Maintain Neutral Posture

A neutral posture provides balance for your body, keeping joints aligned and muscles as relaxed as possible. This tenet ensures that minimal stress is placed on the body.

2. Incorporate Movement and Stretching

Working for a long time in a sedentary fashion will actually cause your musculoskeletal system to become fatigued. Your muscles and bones are designed to move, so ergonomic design creates opportunities to move and stretch.

3. Reduce Repetitious Movement

Jobs that include repetitive motions and job cycles can cause stress and strain on the body and may cause the worker to develop musculoskeletal disorders. Ergonomic designs serve to minimize the strain of repetitious job tasks.

4. Reduce Contact Stress

Contract stress occurs when sensitive body tissue rubs consistently against hard or sharp objects. Think about the soft skin of your wrist as you are using your computer mouse; this part of your body rubs constantly against the hard surface of your desk. This pressure can affect blood flow and nerve sensitivity.

5. Provide Good Lighting

A common problem in office spaces is poor or misplaced lighting. Lighting can be either too dim or too bright, causing a range of problems from eye strain to migraine headaches and other injuries. Proper lighting design is an important part of ergonomics.

What does ergonomics mean for today’s workforce? Now that we know how dramatic the effects of a sedentary workplace are, we can start to address them with ergonomic elements in the office. Eames designs can help – learn about all Eames designs to find ergonomic pieces that will help you address these workplace problems.

Learn How Ergonomics Can Help You

If you work behind a desk for long hours, or have some decision-making capacity at your business, think about getting some ergonomically designed furniture or equipment. Once you start examining your work space for better ergonomics, you may start to view all furniture, lighting, and computer screens through the lens of ergonomic design! We hope this exploration of what does ergonomics mean helps you improve your work space today.

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Ted Jones

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