Sitting at your desk for eight or more hours, five days a week is not only impossible, but it’s unhealthy. You can strain various parts of your body, disturb your mental health through stress, and become increasingly fatigued and unproductive.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor, ergonomics is the fitting of a job to a person, and it helps “lessen muscle fatigue, increases productivity and reduces the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).”
These types of disorders include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Lower back injuries
Of course, there’s the strain of going through physical pain, but there’s also the mental stress of pain, as well as potentially missing work because of the injuries.
The best way to start preventing these kinds of problems is through knowledge. All office employees should understand how to set up their work stations, how often to get up and walk around (no matter how fast that deadline is approaching), and some exercises that can be done at one’s desk.
Here are 6 ergonomics tips to help with all of the above:
Positioning Your Body
There are several things to keep in mind when positioning your body at your desk. First and foremost, don’t slouch. You need to keep your back straight and your neck supported to avoid putting pressure on the discs and vertebrae. This also means keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor – if they’re dangling, adjust the height of your seat. To avoid craning your neck forward, bring your chair as close to your work as possible.
Positioning Your Technology
It can sometimes be difficult to position your body correctly, but it’ll be much easier if your tech devices are also positioned correctly.
Your screen should be right in front of you and as level with your eyes as possible. The keyboard should also be right in front of you so don’t continuously turn your neck back and forth. Your mouse should be close to your keyboard. If you use your phone a lot, the best solution is a headset so that your neck doesn’t take on any strain. If you don’t have a headset, avoid jamming the receiver between your ear and shoulder.
Resting Your Eyes
In today’s world of technology, we can go from computer monitor to phone screen to television without giving our eyes a break. This strain can cause headaches and fatigue. In order to reduce eye strain, make sure your computer monitor isn’t too close to your face, but also not so far away that you need to lean forward to see (about an arm’s length away should be fine).
Try to control any glare by closing blinds if the sun hits your screen and go to your Display Settings to adjust for brightness. To rest your eyes periodically, look away from your screen and focus on something in the distance – this will give your eyes a temporary break from any strain.
Exercising Your Hands and Wrists
We constantly use our hands and wrists at work, making it really important to incorporate exercises for those parts at different times of the day. The University of Indiana’s Occupational Health department put out a guide with information about key stretches for hands and wrists.
Exercising the Rest of Your Body
Just like stretching our hands and wrists, we need to do the same for our neck, back, shoulders and legs. Here is the University of Texas’ Occupational Health department’s guide to exercising other parts of our body that might feel the strain.
It’s crucial to get up and walk around during the workday – something a lot of us forget to do when timelines are approaching or we’re incredibly focused. No matter how much work you have, though, you need to get your blood flowing.
A good idea is to set a timer for once an hour as a way to remind you to get up and take a break. There are even apps out there that you can customize for this very purpose. A popular idea is to get an app that reminds you to drink water every hour, so it forces you up from your desk, while also ensuring you stay hydrated.
If you can reset your work station, remember to get up and walk around, and perform some of those exercises daily, your productivity will increase and your physical strains will decrease.
Other ways to be productive are ensuring your technology is up-to-date and allowing you to be as efficient as possible. For more information, please visit our website’s document automation software solutions page.