Ergonomics is about considering the human form, and the way in which bodies move and function, as part of overall product design. When technology is “ergonomic”, it means it’s been designed to make sure it’s as suited as possible to:
the person using it
the environment in which it’s being used (such as an office)
the purpose for which it’s used
Products that aren’t ergonomic are those that don’t bear in mind the user, the working environment or the intended purpose. Rather than improve matters, these products actually increase the problems that the people using them experience—many workplace injuries are a result of poor ergonomics, for example.
Types of ergonomic office products
In the following section, we cover CMD’s range of ergonomic products, including monitor arms and cable management accessories. We also look at some of the more general products that you’ll see used across most offices.
CMD ergonomic products
Also known as monitor mounts or desk mounts, you use monitor arms to keep your computer monitor or other display screen in the best possible position for your health.
In all offices, there’s a need for staff to have an ergonomic workstation—i.e. one that’s set up correctly. Part of this is making sure equipment is placed at the correct height, angle and distance for your needs.
Always position computer monitors and display screens so they are:
level with your eyeline—helps prevent neckache
around an arm’s length away from your body—helps prevent eye strain
Installing adjustable monitor arms is the best way to achieve this ideal position. They enable you to find the most comfortable angle for your screen, and help you avoid all-too-common workplace injuries and health issues associated with bad posture and awkward movement.
This refers simply to the number of screens. A single arm is for one monitor, a double arm is for two. Often, a dual-screen configuration will allow for better levels of adjustment in terms of screen height, distance and angle.
Monitor arms can be mounted to the desk in a number of ways. Generally, the accessories for each method of fixing will be provided with the product.
Universal C-clamp—a metal C-shaped bracket that slides onto the desk then tightens with a hand screw. This video from CMD shows how the Reach monitor arm is mounted using a top-fixing C-clamp.
Through-desk fixing—a small hole is drilled in the desk, a C-clamp pushed into place then tightened with a bolt from beneath the desk using an Allen key.
The VESA Mounting Interface Standard (also known as the Flat Display Mounting Interface, or FDMI) are industry standards devised by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) for mounting flatscreen monitors, TVs and other displays to stands or wall mounts.
A VESA mount has a square arrangement of screw holes positioned at a set distance from each other. These match up with the screw holes on the monitor or other product itself. Initially, the distance between the screws was set at 100mm, although there are now 75mm variants for smaller screens.
Some monitor arms have been certified by the British Standards Institution (BSI) as having met their standards. For ergonomic products, the standard is known as BS EN ISO 9241-5:1999: Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). Workstation layout and postural requirements.
The purpose of the standard is to ensure monitors and other display screens can be used comfortably, without putting the user’s safety and health at risk. As part of the certification process, the products are put through rigorous tests for strength and durability. There are three levels that determine for how long the product should last without its performance being compromised in any way—these are general (10,000 rotations), heavy (20,000 rotations) and severe (50,000 rotations).
Although offices are using more and more wireless devices, avoiding cables entirely is practically impossible, necessary as they are for the power and data connections serving the workplace.
Having cables and wires running along floors and walls not only takes up space but can put employees’ safety at risk (they are probably the primary trip hazard in most offices and many other business premises!). Using simple cable management accessories can be the difference between a poorly organised office and one that’s safe, neat and committed to great ergonomics.
The majority of office jobs are done while we sit, and being seated for most of the working day can be harmful to our physical and mental health. Ergonomic office furniture design is crucial to avoiding the health issues that come with spending lots of time in an awkward, uncomfortable sitting position.
An office chair is ergonomic when it’s absolutely right for the user in terms of:
their body shape and size
their specific workstation
the tasks they carry out as part of their job
There are many different types of ergonomic office chairs, but some of the more common features include:
a back rest, with lumbar (lower back) support, for good posture
adjustable seat height and depth
a seat pan that fully supports the knees and thighs
a five-point base, for stability
a mesh back, to allow air to circulate around the back of the person seated
Having the perfect office chair is one thing, but the benefits are lost if it’s paired with an unsuitable desk.
Generally, an ergonomic desk is one that’s highly adjustable. “Sit stand” desks are those that the user can adjust to sitting or standing height, enabling them to work while standing and avoid the health problems associated with sitting for long periods of time (such as back pain, repetitive strain injuries, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure).
These sit-stand desks are designed to relieve musculoskeletal stress and strain by supporting the user when typing on a computer keyboard, or when moving between computer and written work.
CMD offers an Electric Sit Stand Workstation that instantly converts any desk into one that allows the user to either sit or stand. Read more about the product on this page.
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