A simple definition for the adjective ergonomic is “relating to or designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment.” When we consider ergonomics in CAT we are focused on the design of the computer peripherals (such as mouse and keyboard) that we interact with, our posture (how we sit or stand) and our work habits.

The goal of ergonomics

The goal of ergonomics is to increase productivity:

  1. by providing a healthy workspace:
    1. Computer hardware design
    2. Furniture (desk, chair, etc.)
    3. Ventilation
    4. Adequate, correct lighting
  2. and following healthy work habits:
    1. Correct posture
    2. Take frequent breaks
    3. Rest your eyes
    4. Flex your wrists, stretch your neck
    5. Use keyboard shortcuts rather than mouse
    6. Don’t use headphones for an extended period or at a loud volume

Input devices

Ergonomically designed computer hardware is designed with the human body and motion in mind. It is most often adjustable so that each individual’s physical build can be accommodated.

An ergonomic keyboard is curved or even split into two halves to allow the user’s wrists to be in a more natural position. The keyboard may feature wrist pads and will most likely be tiltable.

An ergonomic mouse is designed to fit more comfortably in your hand and allows your wrist to rest at a better angle on the desk. An ergonomic mouse pad has a gel cushion that your wrist can rest on.

Standing desks

Standing desks have become popular in recent times. Claims have been made that standing and working offer a number of benefits over sitting. Whilst these are not yet proven, studies do show that sitting for long periods of time contributes to a number of serious health problems.

Question time:

Question: Discuss which is better ergonomically, a standard desktop computer or a laptop.

Answer: A standard desktop PC can be considered better than a laptop ergonomically:

  • A laptop is portable & might encourage a person to shift the device to “sit more comfortably” (slouch on a couch!)
  • Laptop keyboards are more compact and are in a non-adjustable position (small/compact, close to the screen, either the keyboard is at the correct height and the screen is too low or vice versa)
  • You could overcome most of these drawbacks by attaching an ergonomic mouse, keyboard, etc to the laptop (but you would be sacrificing the mobility of the set-up) & using a laptop stand

By MisterFoxOnline

CAT Educator

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