Ergonomics in the office is the practice of designing and organizing a workspace to fit the needs of the user in order to reduce discomfort and increase efficiency. Proper ergonomics can help prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which are common among office workers such as carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches.
Here are some tips to help set up a more ergonomic office space.
1.Adjust your chair to the proper height. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. A good chair with lumbar support and a headrest is a plus.
2. Use a footrest if your feet do not reach the floor.
3. Position your monitor at or just slightly above eye level. Many monitors will raise and lower. For my personal desk setup, I have my monitor at the highest setting and then stacked on a couple of books in order to have it at the proper height.
4. Keep your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable height. Your arms should be relaxed on the arm rests at 90 degrees when using these devices.
5. Take micro breaks for 60 to 90 seconds and stretch regularly. Stand up, walk around, and stretch your legs, back, and shoulders every 30 to 45 minutes. If having regular pain try to take these breaks more often to, at the very least, stand up at your desk and get motion into your joints for a minute or two.
6. Use a headset if you spend a lot of time on the phone. This will help reduce neck and shoulder strain.
7. Keep frequently used items within reach. Avoid Stretching or reaching to access frequently used items, as this can cause strain on your muscles.
8. Make sure that everything in your work space is positioned to have proper posture and that you are not having to lean forward to see your monitor or reach your accessories. Do not sit on the front part of your chair like a stool. While seated your shoulder blades and lower back should not leave the back of the chair and while standing be aware of the upper back hunching over.
By following these simple tips, you can create a comfortable and efficient workspace that will help prevent MSDs and increase productivity. Many companies want their employees feeling their best and may be willing to provide a sit to stand desk upon request. Sit to stand desks are a great way to reduce the strain put on the body by sitting or standing for too long allowing you to change positions as needed. If you are having pain and/or discomfort it is a good idea to be examined by a healthcare professional. Spinal Care Associates in downtown Edmond offers free consultations to discuss any issues you may be having and discuss options to get your health on the right track!
Daniel S. Holt D.C.