Shopping for ergonomic office equipment and supplies can be a daunting task. There are countless suppliers that will offer a wide variety of fascinating gizmos, elaborate desks and chairs that seemingly have the ability to cure scoliosis.

All of these ergonomic products promise improved functionality and a substantial decrease or elimination of overuse injuries. But buyer beware: just because a product is listed as ergonomic, does not mean it will be right for you.

As you have probably noticed, all bodies are built differently and no two people work and sit the exact same way. Therefore, wouldn’t it stand to reason that an ergonomic product isn’t ergonomic for all bodies?

Some bodies are more prone to overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel, some struggle with lower back pain, while others may never feel the effects of an awkwardly positioned chair and standard keyboard.

For those who are prone to wrist strains, a v-shaped keyboard could do wonders for them. However, it may not help prevent injuries if the employee sits too high or too low at their desk.

Similarly, an ergonomic chair is only as good as the desk it’s paired with. Most standard office desks have a height of between 28- 32“. If you are short or tall, this height may not be ideal for you. Your fancy new chair can only do so much to compensate if your feet don’t touch the ground or you find yourself hunching to reach the keyboard.

There are a lot of factors to take into account when purchasing ergonomic office equipment, particularly the preset furniture in your office. You may be able to purchase your own keyboard, backrest, headset or mouse but likely there is little you can do about your desk or chair. If you cannot change your entire work station to fit your needs, purchasing one ergonomic product may not be as effective at preventing overuse injuries as you may think.

However, it is still important to be preventative and know what is right for your body. Statistics from WCB Alberta state that sprains and strains account for 49% of all lost-time injury claims from 2007 to date.

Therefore, even if you cannot make the furniture in your work station more ergonomic, you can still take measures to prevent overuse injuries. Keyboards, wrist rests and headsets all help, but the best thing you can do for your body to prevent injury is to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs, roll your shoulders and relax your wrists. On top of all this, always remember to keep good posture when working at your desk, as bad posture is the number one cause of office related sprains and strains.

If you would like to know more about ergonomic office equipment, please check out these websites:

By Julia Janicki