Sitting in front of a computer screen eight hours a day (or more) five days a week can take its toll on your body. Tension in the neck, back, shoulders or wrists are some of the common problems that plague desk-bound workers. There are simple and efficient ways to prevent these aches and reduce the risks of developing related health problems or injuries; the secret lies in adequate desk posture. Read on for tips on making your workspace more ergonomically correct.
Chair and Sitting Position
– Adjust your chair height so that your feet rest flat on the floor. Use a footrest if they don’t reach.
– Sit as far back as possible in your chair. If you have a lumbar support, it should fit in the small of your back. Your torso should form a 95 to 110 degree angle with your thighs; adjust the incline accordingly.
– Sit with your thighs parallel to the floor and fully supported by the seat pan—you should be able to fit 3 to 4 fingers between the edge of the seat and the back of your knees. Your knees should be bent at a right angle (90 degrees).
– Adjust the arm-rests (if any), so they are at elbow level when your shoulders are in a relaxed position.
– Place your monitor at arm’s length (20 to 30 inches) directly in front on you.
– Adjust the height of your monitor so that your natural eye level is within the top 1/3 of the screen.
– Your head should not be tilted forward or back.
– Use an anti-glare filter to reduce eye strain if your screen has a highly reflective surface.
– Avoid squinting. If you can’t see clearly try cleaning your screen, changing its resolution, or adjusting the brightness. If these steps don’t help, consult an optometrist.
Mouse and Keyboard
– Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang to the sides. Raise your wrists to elbow height until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Your keyboard should be positioned around this point.
– Keep your wrists straight; not angled up, down or sideways. If needed, use a gel or foam wrist rest for support.
– Choose a mouse that fits your hand; one that isn’t too big or too small.
– Place your mouse right next to your keyboard, as close to it as possible to avoid rotating your shoulder.
– Try using your entire arm when moving the mouse instead of just the wrist.
– Change positions throughout the day to give your eyes a break and clear your head.
– Rest your eyes regularly by looking at a distant object for a few seconds.
– Take the time to stretch your muscles during the day.
– Stay hydrated: always keep a bottle of water with you.
– Keep often-used items close to you (phone, planner, etc.).
– Avoid crossing your legs not to cut off the blood flow.
– If you feel discomfort or pain after trying the abovementioned changes, don’t hesitate to consult an occupational therapist for an ergonomic assessment or a physical therapist for further treatment.