Office Ergonomics: Workstation Giving You Back Problems?

July 11, 2016

Our safety experts at Shepherd Insurance have a request: Stop whatever you’re doing and freeze. Now, evaluate your body. Does anything – your neck, perhaps – feel achy? How’s your posture? And your wrists and fingers? Are they okay after all that typing and texting?

While sitting for long hours at the computer, you’ve complained about (and subsequently ignored) the toll that desk work takes on your body. It’s easy to brush off the daily aches and pains when the solution is so unclear. Here are some tips on how to create a comfortable workspace and avoid injuries.

Good Posture Tips

Avoid unnecessary discomfort at work by focusing on your posture and making your workstation ergonomically appropriate. 

Typically, aches and pains from office work are caused by physical stress due to prolonged and awkward positions, repetitive motions, and overuse. When applied to your workstation, these helpful tips will help promote good posture and correct ergonomics:

  • Chair position – Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor, with your knees about level with your hips, making sure your seat is not pressing against the back of your knees.
  • Back support – Keep your backbone straight, shoulders back, abdomen and buttocks pulled in, and chin tucked. If your chair does not allow this, try placing a cushion between the curve of your lower back and the back of the chair.
  • Footrest – Rest your feet on a flat surface. If your chair is too high, consider using a footrest.
  • Computer monitor – Position your monitor 18 to 30 inches from your eyes. The top of your screen should be at eye level or below so you look slightly down at your work. If glare is a problem, turn off some or all overhead lights and close blinds if possible.
  • Key objects – Arrange frequently used objects – such as pens, phones, and your coffee cup – within 10 inches of your body.
  • Headsets – Use a headset if you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time.
  • Wrist rest – Keep your wrists in a straight, natural position when using your keyboard. Do not use your wrist rest while typing. Use it to take occasional breaks from typing.
  • Mouse – Place your mouse to the side of your keyboard so you don’t have to reach too far to use it.

Get up and move!

Sitting at a desk all day, even with the best posture and ergonomics, can still be stressful on your body. On average, your body can only tolerate one position for about 20 minutes before needing to be readjusted. Taking a one-minute break every 20 minutes is helpful.

For additional information, contact your Shepherd Insurance representative. We’re here to help. 

SOURCE: Zywave, Inc.