Beside coders and computer programmers, web designers probably spend the most amount of time staring at a computer screen and performing precision tasks with the computer mouse or keyboard. Over the years, all this can lead to serious health concerns if not handled carefully, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other RSI, posture and back issues from poor seating, and a myriad of other concerns.
The tools and equipment you use need to be carefully selected for their ergonomic benefits, they will ensure that you have the healthiest working environment possible. Making these choices will probably improve your workflow in ways you didn’t even expect.
Let’s go through the best ergonomic setup for a web designer.
Get A Better Chair
You can work on your posture in Yoga class all you want, but you’ll keep running into issues if you settle for a shabby chair. You need a chair that will be better for your back, for your shoulders, and your legs. You must keep your body as comfortable as possible, and the only true way to do that is to have a chair that is comfortable to sit in. You will actually be excited to sit down and work when you get one of these chairs.
The factors that make up an ergonomic chair are many, and there are lots of options to read about online, but the general consensus is:
- Adjustable height and back support.
- Lumbar support
- Armrests are optional, depending on preference.
- Breathable fabric
Get A Tablet With A Stylus
One of the great side effects of the iPad revolution is that artists and web designers can now easily manipulate images using the tablet screens. You can draw much more easily, and you can write in your own hand if you are taking notes, and you can actually replace your laptop with these devices, such as the iPad and Microsoft Surface, which have keyword attachments.
A stylus isn’t for everyone, but it might be the way to go if you use a tablet often.
Get a Better Desk
You’ve probably seen these around the office nowadays, it’s quickly become the most popular form of the ergonomic desk, the “standing desk”. To be realistic, you don’t even need a special desk, although it’s convenient. I’ve seen many colleagues just stack their monitors and keyboards on top of books or reams of printer paper to get the desired effect.
However you do it, it is known to have some health benefits. To get the most health benefits, you will need the most extreme measure, the treadmill desk. Although that’s too extreme for my personal tastes.
PRO TIP: Change Positions Now And Then
Important to note that standing all day isn’t healthy either. You want to switch between standing and sitting, that’s why the standing desks come as adjustable, and not “hard-coded” into the standing position.
While we’re at it, why not move around your office or workspace during the day. You should put your feet up on the desk, put your feet on a chair, sit with your legs crossed, move to a couch, sit in a different room, take a walk around the block. Some variety will break up the monotony of the day, and likely improve your productivity.
Get Better Peripherals
No matter who you are, you probably need a better keyboard and mouse. The old mouse design wasn’t designed the human wrist in mind. In fact, they probably didn’t envision people spending the majority of their waking hours toying with the damn thing either.
They’ve introduced the “vertical mouse”, which fits the hand as if it were making a handshake, with the thumb pointed upwards. Try it for a second if you are at the computer, turn your wrist slightly. Do you feel some pressure get relieved? I know I do.
As for the keyboard, there’s lots of debate over what is the best keyboard, but at least get something that has soft rest areas for the palms and wrists, this will help avoid the dreaded carpal tunnel.
Change Your Screen And Settings
A bright screen is hard on the eyes, and this is an often underappreciated aspect of the ergonomic working environment and overall comfort. Eye strain can lead to lots of problems like headaches and even vision disorders, so make sure you are adjusting your brightness accordingly.
Many laptops have started to include nighttime cool down features that decrease brightness automatically, this should be helpful for all you night owls that work until the wee hours of the morning.
Take A Break
You can go through all your favorite ergonomic practices, but you still need to take a break every now and then. Even superstar employees and experts can start to wear thin without a proper break. You just need to stand up, walk around, and get your body back in order. Jump up and down, jog in place, take a walk around the block, and come back to your device with a fresh sense of perspective.
Try it, it works!
We all have variations in our productivity, but you can give the best effort to be the best version of yourself by following some basic principles, including utilizing the best ergonomic practices. Not only that, but if you are working 8+ hours a day, you deserve to be in a space that is much easier on your body (and mind). Each step you take on this journey will make you more comfortable, more health, and ultimately more creative and productive on the job.