Workplace Ergonomics for Better Health

After sitting behind a desk for more than eight hours a day, you’re bound to get some aches and pains in your neck, back, or wrists. However, by incorporating proper office ergonomics (think feng shui that helps your joints), feeling tired or achy will be a thing of the past. Changes such as correct chair height, equipment spacing, and desk posture can ensure a comfortable workspace.

Choosing the right chair is extremely important. You’re sitting in it for eight hours, so it should be comfortable, right? Pick a chair that supports the natural curve of your spine. The height of the chair should be at the level where your feet rest flat on the floor. Your thighs should be parallel with the ground. Remember to adjust the armrests so your arms are relaxed. If you can afford one, or if your office can accommodate, buy a convertible desk that can stand up with you.

No one likes to reach too far for the remote in the living room, so why would you reach far for your telephone on your desk? Keep objects close within your reach such as your phone, stapler, papers, and anything else you might need. If you struggle to reach something, stand up to retrieve it. When utilizing your mouse or keyboard, keep your wrists straight and your upper arms close to your body. If possible, use keyboard shortcuts, and if you can, alternate your hands to use the mouse. Use a mouse pad with a wrist rest if your desk has a sharp edge.

Monitor placement can ease eyestrain throughout the day. Place the monitor at least a foot away from your face and away from a glare. The top of the monitor should be level with your eyes or just below. Also, make sure your desk has enough room for your knees, thighs, and feet. If not, place blocks underneath to adjust. If your chair is too high, buy a footrest to reach the height of the desk. The basic principle of office ergonomics is to just correct anything when you feel uncomfortable and make sure everything is straight and parallel to your body.

Even though everything is in order and you’re in the best position, taking a break to walk around or stretch is still a good thing. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, according to the Mayo Clinic, so take a break every hour to change things up and keep your blood flowing.

Office ergonomics includes simple fixes that save your joints and health in the long run. Getting through the workday doesn’t have to include aches and pains.

Written by: Julie Jernigan

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