It’s no secret: work can make you sick under the wrong circumstances. So that it is largely avoided, there is the legislator numerous labor safety regulations that must be complied with by the companies. Closely connected to this are the different aspects of ergonomics. But what exactly is that? What is duty of the employer? And when is a workplace as ergonomically? We deliver in this post answers to the important questions.

Definition Ergonomics: What is meant by the term?

Ergonomics belongs – like sustainability – these terms, we have taken as independent in our vocabulary, without thinking profoundly about. Who can define clearly what is meant by an “ergonomic workplace”? To shed some light, the term should be explained at this point.

Ergonomics is a scientific discipline that deals with the human labor. Specifically, it raises the question of how a workplace designed must be to create a perfect symbiosis of humans and work equipment (this incidentally includes machinery and tools) produce. The content of the work , the general environment in the workplace and the organization (job rotation, etc.) are important aspects that find all their appeal in ergonomics and must be considered. The health – both physical and mental – is in any case clearly to the fore.

Furthermore, it can be said that ergonomics can subdivided into the following sub-areas:

  • Workplace design
  • Humanisation of work (Decent Work)
  • Importance of environmental factors (noise, indoor climate, smells, light, etc.) to the atmosphere at the workplace

By the way: “ergonomics” comes from Greek and is composed of the parts of words ” ergon ” for work and “nomos ” for law or rule together.

The goals of ergonomics

It has already been mentioned: Ergonomics aims naturally in primarily aim to create a workplace that allows the best possible adaptation of man at work. Although this meant quite clear health effects , but also with regard to the playing profitability of a company a major role. Because: An ergonomic workplace with a pleasant atmosphere ensures satisfied employees , which in turn work more and better.Ergonomics is not only in terms of employees, but also employers.

In order to achieve the major objectives of ergonomics, there are now a number of specific items of furniture and tools that significantly improve conditions in the workplace. The offerings range from office chairs and desks phones to complex machines. Further developments are special counseling services for companies and ergonomics as school and study.

Why is ergonomics at all important?

Especially in the field of office work – but also in other areas, most notably the “assembly line work” – plays ergonomics an ever increasing role. The reason for this is obvious: Wrong work may in the long run make you sick . To counteract this, several have now been ergonomics guidelines established. The employer is even required by law to comply with them (more on this below).

Office and production work have one thing in common: An extreme lack of exercise. The body is forced into a position that is and adapts to it over time to anything but natural. That this is not just to be assessed positively, manifests itself among others by back pain and headaches, impaired concentration, and a loss in capacity.

Just when we sit (wrong), we practice an incredible burden on our body, which is sooner or later connected to long-term damage. In view of the fact that most people most of their day (ie after work) spend sitting, it is clear that here clearly action.

Employers are in the legal obligation

If you beließt on the Internet on this topic, we encounter again and again on a statement: Ergonomics is an important aspect of preventive OSH. OSH – A term which attracts the attention of many people. Is this not regularized specifications for the employer?

Exactly. OSH is of legal significance. The same applies accordingly for the ergonomics. Employees who believe that too little is done in the appropriate direction in their company may rely on different legal texts.In short: Every working man – whether he works in the office, in production or on site – has a right to medically safe and ergonomic working conditions.

Appropriate legislation can be found

  • the Basic Law
  • the OSH Act
  • in the regulation on health and safety at work with display screen equipment

Concrete ergonomic details are nowhere but in vain. Instead, there are several guidelines to which the employer must hold. These are connected to different tolerances, which is quite reasonable. After all, changed the quality of working devices such as computers, over time, leading to constant adjustments.Even the sometimes great physical differences of each people speaks for policies and to rigid rules and regulations.

These guidelines are particularly important:

  • The distance between the person and the monitor should be about half a meter
  • The office chair should have a seat height 42-53 cm
  • The desk has a minimum dimension of 160 x 80 cm (including all applicable only as storage space)
  • The noise level is a maximum of 55 db (A)

The ergonomic office workstation

Now we come to the crucial point: How does he look like now, the perfect ergonomic office workstation?You have probably often heard different opinions and information, which also determines (in part) were correct. To give you a comprehensive overview, we have prepared the following checklist for you. Using this you can check step by step if your workstation meets the requirements and the points at which it may still be room for improvement.

The ergonomics checklist for work in the office

#1. General

  • Window light falls laterally on the workplace (= parallel line of sight to the window)
  • Sitting never with your back to the door
  • at least 1 meter room to move in all directions
  • pleasant working atmosphere
  • Humidity between 40 and 60%
  • Temperature between 20 and 22 ° C

# 2 The office chair

  • adjustable height
  • adjustable armrests
  • adjustable backrest
  • movable seat
  • Inclination of the seat surface possible
  • For soil suitable rollers (soft ground = hard rolls, hard bottom = soft castors)

# 3 The desk

  • enough space for all working materials and their arrangement (at least 160 x 80 cm)
  • just table edges
  • Matt surface
  • adjustable height (which allows you to work standing up)
  • sufficient freedom for the legs (no drawers or roll containers)

# 4 The computer + other work equipment

  • Keyboard and screen are located on a line
  • the top of the screen is at eye level
  • swivel screen
  • flicker screen
  • Reflections on the screen can be avoided
  • adjustable display brightness
  • Keyboard is close to the body
  • Mouse is within reach of the keyboard
  • Symmetrical arrangement of all work equipment

Tip: There are people who do not work on a fixed computer, but on a portable laptop. This solution should never be permanent. Moreover, it is in terms of ergonomics, external hardware, ie keyboard, mouse, and possibly screen to use in order to adapt the workplace. Never work with the laptop on your lap! There is hardly anything more harmful to the body.

# 5 The optimal sitting posture

  • generally “open”
  • Angle between the torso and thighs = greater than 90 °
  • Angle between the torso and forearms = greater than 90 °
  • Back clings to the backrest and is supported by this
  • The arching of the back (so-called lumbar pad) is on waistline (not about it!)
  • Align armrests so that a relaxed arm position is possible
  • Shoulders to relax and not be pulled towards the ears
  • Upper arms rest against the body
  • Heels and knees form a line
  • Feet are firmly on the floor or an inclined wedge
  • Knees are 4 to 5 cm in front of the seat edge
  • At least 10 cm distance between thighs and tabletop
  • The sitting posture is dynamic and not rigid (thanks movable seat)

# 6 The lighting conditions

  • in the office, there is daylight
  • Windows have a sun and glare protection
  • only indirect lighting
  • low contrasts between ambient to screen

More practical and important ergonomics tips

Of course, the ideal furnished workplace is a first (very important) step in the right direction. However, ergonomics means even more than the optimum seating position and the proper placement of the equipment. The following tips will tell you what it is yet to be observed. A word of advice first: Good ergonomic conditions do not come about by waiting. Here it is important to be active!

Tip # 1: Exercise regularly

One of the most important ergonomic rules is this: Roll once per hour for several minutes. That does not mean that you have to go back to the spontaneous jumping jack. Going to the toilet or to the copier can be equally understood as a movement. If you feel the need to complete a short yoga unit, which is also fine. It is important that you have to give up your posture.

Many swear by the way, the “40-15-5” rule : sit 40 minutes to stand for 15 minutes and move 5 minutes.

Tip # 2: Relax your eyes

The permanent work on the PC is a tremendous strain on the eyes and therefore also a major challenge for the ergonomics. If you notice that the pressure increases and threatens to spread to the head, it’s time to enjoy the view for a few minutes into the distance. Alternatively, you can close your eyes for a moment.


Tip # 3: Provide a relaxed environment

Admittedly, the work is never a place where we feel comfortable at 100%. However, we can actively contribute to the atmosphere is perceived as pleasant. For this you can use, for example, plants and pictures. But beware: If it is too much, threatening clutter on the desk.

Tip # 4: Clean up

In our review of the working model for desk sharing , we introduced the “Clean Desk Policy”. This makes sense in the wake of ergonomics. By only things on the desk, which also serve to really work, you will find much more quickly what you need. Exceptions are mentioned in Tip # 3 objects for a relaxed atmosphere.

Tip # 5: Ventilate regularly

A good indoor climate is essential for an ergonomic workplace. This means for you: Ventilate regularly – at best intermittent and diagonally. This means that two windows that are staggered opposite, open to create a draft.

The ergonomics in everyday life

You may were surprised at the beginning of this text to read that ergonomics originally is directly related to the working world. The reason for this is that the subject has already made inroads into our daily lives and seemingly everywhere is used. Areas where ergonomic aspects particularly strongly come into play are:

  • Children: backpacks, satchels, desks * etc.
  • Household: iron, cook, clean, etc.

This propagation makes it clear attends the importance of ergonomics. It is no longer just in a job important, but we find in all walks of life. This is due to the need to maintain our physical and mental well-being and promote.

No question, ergonomics is an extensive and important issue. When it finally still something you want to tell us know, or, please refer to our comment function.