Take a moment to pause and complete a mental assessment of your body – does anything feel a little achy or is your posture completely out? When your job requires you to spend long hours at a computer, we are sure that you have noticed the toll it is taking on your body. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to suffer and all it takes is setting up an ergonomic office workstation and office chair. Follow these five steps to see a change in your body!
- Find your natural posture
To achieve this, push your office chair away from your desk and sit down comfortably. For many people, your feet are on the floor in front of you; your hands are folded in your lap; and your shoulders relax as you lean back slightly. In this posture, your vertebrae are stacked and your back will move as you breath. Memorise this natural posture, as it will assist you in creating an ergonomic office workstation.
- Correct keyboard and mouse placement
Your keyboard and mouse should be positioned so that your elbows remain at your sides and your arms are held at or below a 90-degree angle. The keyboard should be placed 1 to 2 inches above your thighs, and tilted down and away from you (so that your arms follow the downward slope of your thighs). The keyboard and mouse should be shoulder distance apart and as level as possible.
- Correct screen(s) placement
We recommend setting up your screen (or screens) in this order. To find the perfect distance for your screen, sit back and extend your arm; the tip of your middle finger should land on your screen. If you have 2 screens, place one off-centre. To find the perfect height, close your eyes; when you open them, they should land on the address bar. We also recommend tilting the monitors down slightly to avoid reflections.
- Correct chair adjustment
Your office chair is actually your best friend when it comes to ergonomics, as it supports your back, bottom and posture. Make sure that it has good lumbar support to ensure you can sit comfortably in your natural posture. There should be a little space between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees. When sitting, your feet should be on the floor in front of you (not dangling); if required, use a footrest.
- Regularly get up and move
It doesn’t matter how ergonomic your office workstation and chair are, if you don‘t regularly get up and move about you are still likely to experience problems. We recommend taking a break at least once an hour to walk around the workplace or stretch. Running errands (such as checking the mail or photocopying) is a great way to get you out of your seat. If you need reminding, set an alarm.
The next time you’re at work with nothing to do, take a few minutes to ensure that your office workstation and office chair have been set up as ergonomically as possible. If you are a supervisor or even a manager, use your next staff meeting to discuss the importance of ergonomics with your employees and encourage them to make these changes, too. They will help you to work easier now and will save your body in the future.