Do you ever worry about your back health or overall health while at work? Like millions of people, your job may require you to be seated at a desk for hours. And sitting for too long staring at a screen can lead to discomfort, especially in your joints and your lower back.1 These workplace ergonomic tips might help.
Ergonomics is the practice of creating a comfortable workspace environment. If you’re an office worker, it’s important to have a space that adapts to your needs and promotes a healthy posture.
How can you maintain good posture in the workplace? Adjusting your seat, the height of your work surface and the position of your screen are just a few workplace ergonomic tips that may help improve your posture.
Poor Posture And Sore Muscles From Sitting At Your Desk All Day?
Adopting proper posture in the workplace (and elsewhere) may support the health of your back.2 Learning the basics of prevention can make all the difference. Adapting how you work might help you avoid subjecting your body to unnecessary pressure and stress.
As it turns out, a poor workspace layout (including the placement of your keyboard, screen, mouse, and the position of your desk) may lead to bad posture.3
When people work, less focus is given to how they are standing or using their back and arms. Comfort usually wins out. But good posture is key to keeping your body comfortable and healthy (while you’re working, and long after).4
So, what can you do to help promote good posture and find comfort while at your desk all day long? Try some of these suggested workplace ergonomic tips. It’s not an exact science, but taking steps to make your workspace more comfortable now might make a world of difference.
The Importance Of Posture And Equipment Placement
While sitting in your office chair:
- Make sure your feet are resting evenly on the floor.
- Don’t lean to one side. Sit straight up.
- Center your body in front of your computer monitor.5
Using a footrest is also a great way to help improve posture, especially if your feet don’t quite reach the floor when you’re in your chair. Keeping a neutral posture is best. When you are slouched, your body can’t support your neck when you’re using your keyboard and mouse.6
Stand-up desks might be an option. Standing makes a person aware of their posture, and it might help promote back health over time.
Utilize Good Back Support While In Your Chair
When sitting at your desk, you’ll want to be sure your chair is aligned properly.
- The front of your chair should be pointed straight towards your desk.
- Your feet should be flat on the floor (or on a footrest).
- Your knees and thighs should be parallel to the floor.
- Use assisted support (such as back cushions) if needed.7
As great as a high-quality office chair can be, it won’t always provide the support you need. Sitting still for hours isn’t good for your body. You’ll eventually feel the strain, especially in your back.8
Ergonomic Tips For Your Chair
Lower back pain is common among office workers. In fact, back pain is the most common reason for missed work, accounting for over 264 million lost workdays in a year.9,10
How can you make your office chair more ergonomic? Begin by checking your chair’s height. While standing in front of the chair, adjust the height so the top of the seat is at the bottom of your kneecap. Then make small height adjustments until your thighs are parallel to the ground.12
Also, if you can, choose an ergonomic chair at your office that has strong lumbar support. Lumbar support is a cushion of rounded shape that supports the lower back when you are in a sitting position.13
Ergonomic Tips For Your Desk
Adjusting the height of your desk is a great way to promote proper posture in the work environment. A standing desk is popular for this reason. But, if you don’t have a standing desk, making sure your thighs stay parallel to the floor while sitting at the desk is important, and so is finding the proper keyboard tray.14
If you are using a regular desk, adjusting the placement of the monitor so that the top of the screen is just about eye level might do the trick.15
Take Breaks Throughout The Day
Taking short breaks while working at a computer all day is essential. Moving your body frequently may help to offset the physical problems that affect your joints, back, arms, and legs when you sit all day.16
Even if you’ve got the best workplace ergonomics, you’ll still want to stand up and stretch several times each day. Take a short walk around the office to get your blood moving. If you have trouble remembering to get up and move around, set your phone alarm as a reminder.
Additional Helpful Tips
Again, even when you’ve got the right office chair and desk for comfort, you still need to sit (or stand) up straight.
- Avoid slouching your shoulders while sitting or standing (it puts extra strain on your muscles).
- Keep your elbows in a comfortable 90-degree angle while at your desk. Make sure your elbows are always supported while you’re typing.
- Keep your neck in a neutral position. Don’t crane your neck to see better. Move things to you.
- Keep your monitor at least an arm’s length away to prevent eye strain while staring at a screen all day.17
Make Your Workspace Work For You
Creating an environment that works for you, promotes a healthier back, and helps boost productivity is possible with the right ergonomic workstation.18
What else can you do to help yourself? Keep your most frequently used items, such as your notebook and pens, calculator, and mouse close by. With the correct tools and tips, you can make working more comfortable on your back (and your whole body).19