One of the most common ways to injure yourself at work is by not setting up your workstation ergonomics correctly. It’s easy to let office ergonomics slip our minds as the onset of injuries are gradual. Sometimes you may notice an injury when it’s too late. Muscoloskeletal injuries of the back, neck and wrists commonly occur, along with eye stain. So in order to have a more productive and comfortable desk you should do these simple checks.
Adjust Your Chair
Often sitting for a long period of time in an office is unavoidable, and that can lead to back pain. However, making adjustments to your chair will improve your back support. The ideal chair height can be found when you sit up straight in your chair letting your arms hang by your side. By making a right angle at the elbow and keeping your wrists straight you can adjust the height so you comfortably rest on top of the desk with your arms in the same position. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees either equal to or just below your hips.
If your chair has the option, you should adjust the lumbar support so it supports the lower curve of your back. However no matter how well you set up you seat, you need to actively make sure you don’t slouch. The end of your seat cushion should also not put pressure on your thighs.
Adjust Your Monitor
This depends on your eyesight, but as a rule your monitor should never be at a distance that causes you to strain yourself. Don’t place the monitor too far away; it should be about arms length away from you. If you work with two monitors then have them side by side. Now if you use both equally, center them both. If you use one more than the other, place the secondary screen off center. Your eyes should be level with the top of the screen and tilted so there are no reflections coming off it. You can also consider getting computer glasses if you suffer from eye strain or blurred vision.
Adjust Your Keyboard & Mouse
Your keyboard and mouse should be sitting directly in front of you. Your keyboard should be adjusted according to if you sit forward slightly or sit back slightly. The tilt of the keyboard should face away from you if you sit forward and should be tilted forward if you recline so your wrists remain straight. Your elbows should always stay at your side so you don’t have to strain at all. You can also use cushioned mouse pads.
Take Regular Breaks
Even with all of the ergonomic adjustments to your workstation you still need to take regular breaks. So every half hour or so you should get up for a two minute stretch to get circulation going again. This means you can correct your posture once you sit back down again. Try to get away from your desk during lunch time to take proper breaks. Also ensure you rest your eyes by looking away from the screen while you stretch.
Once you have set up your workstation to the ideal heights and made adjustments you need to proactively correct your posture. A workstation that’s ergonomically set up will prevent injuries from happening and ease the pain of current injuries. If you suffer from back pain, check out our back pain relief guide.