Create a shipping station that fits you
If you have mountains of orders or just one, setting up a dedicated shipping station is a milestone! You're starting to create processes, designating areas, and accumulating supplies, congratulations! Keep these 3 tips in mind as you are designing your shipping station:
Your height matters when choosing a shipping station desk! If you are under 5 foot 2 inches or over 6 feet, you'll need to look for tables that are above or below the recommended averages. Let's address standard table height, because I recommend trying out what you have before investing.
- Standard dining table is between 28 inches and 32 inches
- Standard desk is 30 inches
- Standard kitchen counter height is 36 inches
- Standard bathroom vanity is between 32 inches and 36 inches
- Standard shipping stations are 32 inches to 36 inches
If you wear shoes while at your shipping station add that into your height. Adjustable tables are great on the surface, but not necessary if you take time and use what you have at home to determine your ideal shipping station height.
Grab the packaging you'll use for most of your orders and walk around the house pretending to assemble it and pack it. You're looking for a surface height that gives you these feelings:
- Standing straight with shoulders back
- Comfortable hip bend, with no strain at the lower back
- Feet flat on the floor wearing your normal shipping footwear
- Elbows comfortably near your side, never over your shoulders
The products sold in your store will determine the packaging you'll use. Next decide on the packaging tape you'll be using. The packing tape is an important and easily overlooked part to create an ergonomic shipping station.
Acrylic packing tapes are the most widely used for shipping every package from poly-mailers, bubble-mailers, glossy boxes, and cardboard boxes. The advantage these also have for your shipping station is its portability! The glue on acrylic packing tapes is ready to use and can be loaded into a handheld tape dispenser. Handheld tape dispensers can have ergonomic grips or comfortably held within your hand.
Water-activated paper tapes (WAT) are the clear winner if you're shipping heavy/bulky packages or are in a dusty/dirty environment. The advantages of these paper tapes make them a valued addition for businesses, but it comes with a disadvantage for your shipping station.
WAT paper tapes require water to be applied to the underside of the tape before it can be applied to the cardboard surface. This means you'll need a desktop tape dispenser. It's filled with water so it's a stationary dispenser. The optimal location of the dispenser will be to the back of your shipping station, remember it's filled with water. Functionally you'll need to bend over the table and reach multiple times to seal your package.
Protective sleeves, informational inserts, pens, and stickers also need to be in reach at your new shipping station. An ergonomic storage position of these items will be to the sides, minimizing anything above head height.
Shelving over the shipping station isn't ideal for your entire body! To reach anything high/over the station your heels will leave the ground, bending over at the hip, and extending arms over your head. This puts stress on all joints and removes your stable foot position, leading to potential slips and falls.
Open shelf side tables placed on your tabletop are an economic and easy addition to your shipping station. This is where having a deep shipping station is important. Leaning forward with the feet still planted is far better for long term use than reaching at shelving mounted above your head.
Storing cardboard boxes for that day/week's use is best kept under the shipping station. Avoiding unnecessary lifting of heavy, loose boxes will minimize injuries.
Over packing your shipping station with every possible supply can make it unusable and create an environment for injuries! Remember this is only for shipping your orders for that day, not a shipping storage center. Look to keep this area uncluttered and use modular pieces that can be adapted for your comfort.
Pinterest idea: @hotpawzpackingtape
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