Preventing Aches and Pains
A comfortable work space can help you feel your best at work. Give your workspace a makeover with this visual guide to office ergonomics.
Sitting behind a desk for hours on end can be exhausting – physically and mentally. But it doesn’t mean that you have to have injuries or painful conditions from manning your desk for endless hours and physical motions you’ve repeated for years.
Comfort is king.The more comfortable you are at work, the more productive you’ll be. Arranging your work setup isn’t difficult at all, and will enable your body to be comfortable for longer periods of time and leave you feeling much better! After all, physical discomfort only promotes mental discomfort.
The height of your chair should allow your feet to lay flat on the floor, comfortably. Your knees should be level with your hips. If your office chair doesn’t allow lumbar support, you can put a cushion behind the lower arch of your back to offer more support.
Keep Items Close at Hand
Keeping all tools that you use on a regular basis within easy reach is a must. If you have to reach more than arm’s length, stand up to reach the object so you won’t strain anything. Keyboard, mouse, stapler and pens or pencils should be within your arm’s reach.
Your mouse should be at a comfortable distance next to your keyboard. A wrist rest should either be included in your mousepad or supplemented so your wrist can rest comfortably and without effort to reach your mouse.
Using a wrist rest in front of your keyboard will allow your hands and forearms to rest during typing. When taking typing breaks, rest the heels or palms of your hands on the rest. Do not rest your wrists, as that will create tension and extra stress your wrists don’t need.
Your monitor should be arm’s length away from you— generally 18 to 28 inches—away. The top of the screen should be right about eye level. No glare should be visible from point of view. If glare is seen it can cause your eyes harm-sometimes irreparable. The brightest light source should be adjacent to your monitor.
While typing, ensure that your wrists are flat and not bent in any direction. This helps avoid unneeded stress on the wrists and forearms.
If you work at a call center or field a large number of phone calls, a headset maybe right for you. People tend to talk with their phone on their shoulder and that can, after repetitions, cause serious trapezius problems. It especially helps if you’re writing or typing at the same time you’re talking. Experiment with various styles until you find the headset that works best for you.
While sitting in your chair, if your feet aren’t able to lay flat on the floor, try using a footrest. A small stool, a phone book or even a legitimate footrest will suffice. If your feet aren’t flat against an object it could force your hips into uncomfortable positions.
Center your body in front of your monitor and keyboard. Sit up straight, keeping your thighs horizontal with your knees and at about the same level as your hips. Keep your forearms level or tilted up slightly.
Ideally, your desk should be 19” deep and around 30” wide, and depending on how tall you are, 34” tall. Space under the desk should never be used for storage. You should have maximum clearance for your knees, legs and thighs.