The average office worker will spend around 8 hours of their day at their desk, which is roughly the same amount of time that you should spend in bed sleeping. Ideally, you would not spend 8 hours sleeping on an uncomfortable, springy mattress, in a draughty room, so why should you spend all your days working under less than ideal circumstances? The short (and only) answer is you shouldn't, which is why we've put together this list of 5 things that every office needs to have in 2015.
Ergonomic Computer Mouses
Using a computer mouse is surprisingly taxing on the body, and prolonged use can result in a number of very painful RSIs, such as DeQuervain's disease and Flexor Tenosynovitis, ('Trigger Finger'). An ergonomic computer mouse will not prevent these from eventually developing if you're using a mouse day-in, day-out, but they will noticeably increase your comfort and slow the development of repetitive strain injuries considerably.
To learn more about best practices for computer mouse-use, read our 8 ergonomic tips for using a mouse.
Scheduled Screen Breaks
Looking at a screen takes an incredibly high toll on your eyes, both in the long-term and short-term. Every time you look at a screen the muscles in your eyes tighten slightly to let less light in, and when you look away from the screen, even if it is just to look at your keyboard, they will relax in order to let more light in. It does not take long for the muscles to become fatigued, causing a deterioration in eyesight, increased blinking, and possibly headaches. A 1 – 2 minute screen break every hour will go a long way toward reducing ocular fatigue, and you will be startled how much more productive people are when their eyes are not irritated.
Ergonomic Office Chairs
Considering how much we do it, sitting down does not really come all that naturally to the human body. Sitting causes a great deal of strain on the lumbar and sacrum, which can quickly develop into back ache or neck strain. Ergonomic office chairs provide a wide range of benefits, chief amongst them being the level of adjustability and customisation they offer to those using them. Injuries stemming from poor posture and bad seating were responsible for over 15 million lost working days in 2013, according to NHS statistics, so it really is in everyone's best interests for offices to provide ergonomic chairs.
For more information on the benefits of ergonomic seating, take a look at our blog post on what to look for in ergonomic office chairs.
A Bit Of Individuality
It can be easy for offices to become sterile and impersonal, and though you do not want work surfaces to become cluttered with photos and other personal effects, there is nothing wrong with one or two items that make the desks where people spend a third of their day a little more individual. Having family pictures present, for example, will not only make people smile with little more than a glance, it will also remind them who they are working hard and doing it all for. Other things, like small toy figures, can act as a 'desk mascot' and add a little bit of fun to an otherwise serious place of work.
Computer Stands & Monitor Risers
As much a part of preventing back ache, neck strain, poor posture and ocular fatigue as ergonomic office chairs and screen breaks are, computer stands and risers should position screens so that the top of the screen is at eye level. This will allow those using them to view them comfortably, without having to place any unnecessary pressure on their necks or having to slouch. Monitor stands are also helpful with regards to keeping worktops tidy and organised, as often they will create space underneath that can be used as additional storage.