Office Ergonomics – Workstation Posture Tips
Did you know that a lot of people who have desk based jobs have incorrectly set up ergonomics at their desk. This in turn creates poor habits and hence poor posture due to muscle fatigue, strain and ends up causing pain – whether it be lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, RSI or headaches.
How is your work station set up?
Here are some questions that may give you an insight into office ergonomics and what you may need to look at in order to improve your work station.
1. Do you have a desk that is at the right height?
2. Where is your computer screen? Is it straight ahead…to the side so your head is continually turned to one side… too high or low for your eye height?
3. Do you have a chair that is correctly fitted for you? Is there a lumbar support in the chair? Does the chair have arm rests? If so do you need them, or do they hinder your and stop you from being able to pull your seat under the desk? Is the chair at the correct height for the desk you are at? Do you swivel in your chair?
4. Do you cross your legs and twist your back while you are working?
5. Do your feet touch the ground? Do you need a foot stool?
6. How far away is your mouse from your body? Are you constantly turning your upper body and reaching forwards with your mouse hand?
7. Do you find yourself slouching?
8. Do you use a head piece when on the phone, or do your crook your neck to the side and keep the phone on your shoulder so your hands are free?
9. Do you sit ALL day? How often would you stand up to have a break, stretch or get a glass of water?
10. Have you considered the option of also using a standing desk?
Hopefully most of these questions will help make you more aware of how you should be organised at your desk!
If you are in a company that offers OH&S support ask for some assistance for your workplace ergonomics.
As we are all different shapes, sizes, and ages and all have a different history in relation to what our bodies are doing and feeling, having the appropriate set up can help alleviate muscle aches, pains, headaches and back pain. This in turn can help improve work place productivity, decrease time taken off work and give you an overall feeling of wellbeing.
Here are some tips to improve your work station, posture and set up and help prevent musculoskeletal strain
1. Keep your arms at right angles from your shoulders at your desk
2. Keep your wrists in line with your forearms for a neutral position of the wrists. This will help avoid elbow and wrist pain and conditions such as RSI and tendonitis in the forearm.
3. Keep your mouse arm/elbow tucked towards your body to prevent your slouching forwards, twisting your back and creating a sore neck and shoulders, as your mouse inevitably moves further away from you and up the desk!
4. Keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs. This avoids twisting your back and slumping forwards. Use a foot stool if you need which will help support your lower back. And keep your hips and knees at right angles, ie, 90 degrees.
5. Keep your bottom at the back of your chair so your back is supported. You can use a special lumbar cushion, or even a small rolled up towel in the lower curve of your back to help prop you up. This allows for a feeling of being tall through the spine and will help you sit up straighter more naturally.
6. If you have a lot of loose documents or you refer to a lot of paperwork, use a document holder. It will keep you looking ahead and prevent you from looking down with your eyes and neck all the time. The document holder is most effective if it is at eye height and just to the side of your computer screen – not far off to the side – so you avoid turning your head more than 45 degrees.
7. If possible, alternating with a standing desk and seated desk is a fantastic option. This encourages more movement of your body as well as avoids sitting for long periods of time. Spending more time standing can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal aches and pains.
8. Use a headset if you are on the phone a lot. It will keep your hands free, stop you from bending your neck to the side or constantly lifting your shoulder up to support the phone.
9. Where possible – take a break! Get up for a glass of water, speak to a colleague instead of sending an email, and stand up and do some stretching while you are talking on the phone. Take some deep breaths every hour or so, roll your shoulders backwards and do some hip circles so your whole body moves.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please be in contact to see how we can help your further – whether it be for osteopathic hands on treatment, ergonomic set up and advice!