Designing workstations involves taking into account the changing realities of office work. In the past, office tasks were more varied and ranged from typing and reading papers to filing and writing by hand. This diversity reduced the occurrence of eyestrain among workers. The integration of computers into offices, however, now means that nearly all office tasks have been consolidated into one activity — staring at a computer screen. The typical office worker’s eyes rarely get a break from this single, visually stressful activity. Therefore, considering these factors to reduce eyestrain when designing workstations should be a priority:
- Reduce sources of glare, both direct and reflected, on the workstation as much as possible. Direct glare refers to intense light from sources such as ceiling or spot lights or bright sunlight through windows. Reflected glare off computer screens may cause workers to shift position to minimize it and assume uncomfortable postures.
- When it comes to monitor distance, farther away — provided the material can still be comfortably read — is better than closer. Eyestrain is significantly greater from attempting to read material that's closer than the convergence point of the eyes, which varies per individual, versus reading material farther away.
- Place the monitor at a natural viewing angle, with the top of the screen lower than eye level. Think about the typical reading position for books and magazines. Nova Solutions Downview system integrates the monitor into the desktop at a 35-degree angle for relaxed viewing at a comfortable distance.
- Design the workstation so that all reading content is equidistant from the worker. Room should be available for placing written material and notes an equivalent distance from the eyes as the computer screen. This reduces tiring refocusing as the eyes shift back and forth among different reading material.
Since 1988, Nova Solutions has offered technical and office furniture for the efficient work space. Contact us for more information about designing workstations with physical and visual ergonomics in mind.