Let’s be honest, the state of our work culture today isn’t healthy with long hours working on computers and consistent overtime having become a societal norm.
Although sitting down all day may sound comfortable, our new way of life has introduced a myriad of health hazards which weren’t prevalent in previous generations such as non-accidental back injury and carpal tunnel.
Fortunately, there are steps that we can take to minimise the risk of these injuries and the good thing is that they are easy to implement. We just need to be mindful of how our workspace is set up and the state that our body is in throughout the day. Here are seven tips that will help you to work more ergonomically and there’s a good chance that they willincrease your productivity too.
1. Adjust the height of your chair
The height of your chair should be your first port of call as the correct height will offer foot support and reduce the pressure on your lower back. Our lower backs are especially prone to injury because they endure most of the strain made from each and every twist, turn and bend. To find the correct chair height, simply sit in an adjustable chair with proper support and adjust it until your feet comfortably rest flat on the floor.
2. Keep your key objects close
Strategically place key objects such as your keyboard, mouse and phone within arm’s length to avoid straining your arms and shoulders. Stretching to reach these objects could result in a strain or tear if you’ve been sitting in the same position for a long period of time. If you feel that you need to reach for something, get up and out of your chair first!
3. Take breaks
Taking short breaks throughout the day is key to working more ergonomically. This doesn’t mean that you have to constantly disappear throughout the day for half an hour strolls at the shopping mall. It just means that you should be scheduling short breaks every 30 minutes to stand up and stretch. This simple ritual will help to relieve any tension in your muscles and stress in your spine.
4. Perfect Your Posture
Poor posture can wreak havoc on your back and cause unnecessary strain. You can easily fix this problem by sitting up straight and aligning your shoulders with your hips. Don’t stop there though as you’ll need to keep your neck in line as well. For proper neck posture, ensure that your ears fall in the vertical line created by your shoulders and hips.
5. Adjust your computer screen to eye level
More and more people have started to use laptops for work. This makes perfect sense as it allows you to do some work and then bring your laptop along to internal and external meetings. The problem with laptops is that they were built for portability rather than extended periods of use. By using their built-in keyboards, we force ourselves to look downwards and crouch over the screen which puts a strain on our neck and shoulders. If you’ll be working on a laptop day in, day out, invest in a laptop stand (a pile of books or an external monitor will also do) to bring the screen to eye level as well as an external keyboard and mouse.
6. Support the weight of your arms
Your arms should comfortably rest on your desk or arm rests at all times to align your spine and upper back. If the weight of your arms do not get proper support, your neck and shoulder muscles will be strained. Choosing an office chair with built-in adjustable armrests will also provide added support.
7. Use a standing workstation
Although standing workstations have been popularised by tech companies, you’ve most likely already used one when searching for books at your local library. Standing workstations are great for your physical health as they help your body to naturally maintain a good posture. In addition, you may end up working faster to get your tasks done as who wants to be standing up working all day long?