Your health is one of the most important things, however many of us don’t think much about our health when we are sitting at our desk. In fact, injuries from sitting at your desk (yes, you read that right!) can be extremely painful and debilitating if not addressed early on and corrected.
We now know from many various studies that sitting down for extended periods is terrible for your health, even if you exercise regularly.
So what can you do to ergonomically optimize your workstation and preserve your health?
Watch your posture
You should be sitting up straight with relaxed shoulders, and your arms at a 90º angle when your hands are resting on your keyboard. It is important to keep your wrists straight and move the mouse from the point of your elbow and not from the point of your wrist. Your back should be supported by the chair and your legs at a 90º angle with your feet flat on the floor or on a support. Try to avoid crossing your legs. Picture stacking each vertebrae on top of one another. If you find yourself slouching during the day, simply correct your posture. Soon it will become second nature to sit in a healthy way and avoid injury.
Optimize your monitor
From the top of your monitor, measure a couple of inches down. There is where your eye level should be. if you need to raise your monitor, you can do so with a homemade (DIY) stand, or you can also purchase stands for this purpose. Most monitors come with the option to adjust the angle so you can avoid glare.
Support your back
You’ve probably heard the term “lumbar support” before but how much thought have you give to this at the office? If you’re choosing a new office chair, pick one out that offers a lot of adjustment options so you can customize it to your natural sitting posture exactly. If you do not have the option of purchasing a new chair, you can purchase cheap lumbar supports, or even just throw a rolled up towel or pillow behind your back to improve the support.
Support your feet
If you are a tall person, supporting your feet should not be difficult. Simply rest them on the floor and make sure your chair is high enough so that your knees are bent at a 90º angle. If you are more vertically challenged you will want to have some sort of stool or support to rest your feet on. Avoid crossing your legs or feet, as this puts your hips and spine out of alignment and can cause discomfort or injury elsewhere in your body. Also avoid resting your feet on the chair legs as this can impede proper blood flow.
Avoid eye strain
Our eyes were not meant to be focused 3 feet in front of us consistently for 8 hours per day. For healthy eyes and to avoid eye strain, make sure to focus on something further away periodically throughout the day. Gaze out of a window, peek down a hallway, wave to someone in another cubicle… whatever you can to relax the eye muscles and keep your vision healthy. Make sure you have adequate lighting wherever you are working, and avoid glare in the monitor by adjusting the angle appropriately
On top of all of this, there are a few other things that can help you stay healthy at the office.
Take frequent breaks. Stretch, walk around, get the blood flowing. Breaking up the day of sitting with movement will greatly reduce your risk of diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles.It is not enough to have ergonomic hardware. You have to make the effort to be aware of, and adjust your posture as necessary.Drink plenty of water, a hydrated body is an efficient body!
For more information check out this fact sheetwhich goes more in-depth on the layout and lighting of workstations, put together by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
SuiteWorks is pleased to offer businesses in Barrie and Simcoe County a range of office space, from co-working desks to virtual office package. Call us to find out more. 1.866.967.5711.