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Work Spaces for Educators

Work Spaces for Educators

Whether you’re grading papers, planning lessons, printing, or doing office hours, you spend a lot of time at your desk.  And the fact of the matter is that most educator work spaces just aren’t that ergonomically friendly.  By the end of the day, your shoulders and neck are pinched, your back is sore, and you feel more stress than you have to.  Accepting that as inevitable is not the way it’s supposed to be.  Take a look through some of these ergonomic tips and solutions so you can decrease stress ad stress-related injuries, while increasing productivity.

A few work space tips for educators

Look at your work space design.  Is it set up for ergonomic comfort and ease of work?  Consider the following factors:
•    Your monitor should be at eye level, and your neck should not have to strain to see it.
•    Your keyboard and mouse should be on the same surface as each other, but not on the same surface as your monitor unless it is raised.  In addition, your mouse should be tucked in nest to your keyboard.
•    You should always feel relaxed and neutrally positioned.  You should never cock your wrists or have to angle them to type or reach the mouse (see above for keyboard and mouse placement).
•    Your feet should rest comfortably on the floor, meaning your chair should be adjustable to accommodate this position.
•    Bottom line- you should not have to overextend your reach to get to anything! 

Ergonomic solutions for comfort and productivity

Just rethinking your work set-up can help you be more comfortable and even more productive.  Try a few of the following ….
•    To get the best ergonomic set-up, many workers and educators alike use an ergonomic desk and/or chair that facilitates easy and comfortable reach of all essential items, while still providing the structure and support you need.
•    If an ergonomic desk is not an option, try redesigning the space you have.  One of the best things you can do is get your keyboard and mouse lined up correctly.  You can use a left-handed keyboard (which puts the rarely-used number pad on the left) or even a mini keyboard to free up some space to allow you to pull your mouse in closer.  
•    A simple and affordable solution for wrist or forearm discomfort is a wrist rest.  This rest allows you to type in a neutral position and rest your palms at the same time, thus alleviating strain on the actual wrists.
•    For peace and quiet during office hours or a planning period (or even when giving a quiz, test, or exam), try white noise.  White noise generators (aka sound machines) provide a low-level hum so that you can tune out otherwise distracting noises and just feel more relaxed.  The result is less stress and increased productivity.
Just by reworking your space and implementing some new resources, you can get more done in less time, and feel better doing it!