A small tool that has a huge impact – how an armrest makes your office workstation extra ergonomic
When you see the state of some office workstations, it’s hard to believe that the term ‘ergonomics’ has been around since 1857. Uncomfortable chairs, non-adjustable desks and computers set at the wrong angle are all still commonplace. But not everywhere, fortunately. Many of the some 32 million office workers have height-adjustable desks and ergonomically designed chairs. You should also consider incorporating an armrest if you’d like to enhance your workstation in an ergonomically sensible way.
72% of all people who work at a desk experience problems
It’s only a small tool, but it can make the world of difference. A cleverly designed armrest can be absolutely invaluable to you. Especially because it can help relieve the strain on your body. This tool is a must-have for the 72% of office workers who suffer from tension in the neck / shoulder area and in their arms and wrists. ‘Mouse arm’ has now mutated into a widespread disease and is known by its scientific name: ‘repetitive strain injury’ (or ‘RSI’ for short). But how should an armrest be designed to help you even though you click the mouse thousands of times a day?
Even correcting your posture slightly is enough
It might just a small change in how you position your hand, but it can have a huge impact. When you use conventional mice and keyboards, your forearms rest on the desk and your wrists bend upwards so you can use both devices. If you use an armrest, your wrists remain in a neutral position; even this small change in position can demonstrably relieve the strain on the arms, the neck and the shoulder areas. An added benefit is that it helps you to maintain a more upright posture, which is healthier for your back.
How to design an ergonomic armrest
Many employers already understand how important dynamics are at a seated workstation. Height-adjustable desks are an extremely valuable resource in this regard, and an armrest can beef up your workstation even more in a way that benefits your back. The important thing in this respect is that the armrest has to be user-friendly, safe and easy to attach to the edges of existing (standing) desk systems without a great deal of technical effort. In this context, experts advise using particularly variable bracket technology. The armrest is simply attached to the edge of the desk and can be easily removed at any time. It’s ideal if the brackets can be adjusted to the thickness of the desktop.
Especially with height-adjustable sit/stand systems, the suspended armrest must also be continuously and securely attached to the desk. This can be ensured by the design and a rubber coating. The armrest must allow you to rest your forearms in a relaxed manner. This is the only position that allows you to operate the mouse and keyboard in a way that meets your physiological needs. Last but not least, it should have a skin-kind, removable and washable cover material.