Does your back or neck hurt often after a long day in front of the computer? These ergonomic adjustments can ease your office life.
Maybe it’s your wrist or your fingers that hurt when working long hours in the office. What about your legs or thighs?
If you feel any of these symptoms, it’s high time to make some ergonomic adjustments and changes to your workspace.
Here are 7 of the most important ergonomic changes to implement today to immediately improve your health and productivity.
Ergonomic Adjustments For A Healthy Workspace
Follow these tips to stay healthy at the office:
1. Adjust Your Monitor To Eye Level
Prevent eye strain, and neck and back pain by optimizing the position of your monitor.
Position your monitor about an arm’s length (18 to 28 inches) in front of you. Also, adjust its height so that the top 2 to 3 inches of the monitor are at your eye level.
People with dual monitor setups need to first determine which one is used more often. If you use the monitors equally, place them in a semi-circle with their inner edges touching each other. If you use one more than the other, place the more used monitor directly in front of you. Place the secondary monitor on the side of your dominant eye in a semi-circle.
If you’re using a laptop, use a stand to hold it in the same position as you would a monitor. Use a separate keyboard and mouse.
2. Remove Sources Of Lighting That Cause Glare
To reduce the strain on your eyes, minimize the glare from your computer and other sources of lighting. Here’s how to do it:
- Get a matte screen filter for your computer screen.
- Adjust the brightness of your monitor to make it more comfortable to the eyes.
- Position your desk perpendicular to the window so that neither you nor your monitor is directly facing the sunlight.
- Use window blinds to only let in as much light as needed.
- Do not place your monitor directly under your overhead light.
- For your overhead light, use ambient or soft lighting.
3. Adjust Your Chair Height So Your Arms Are Parallel To The Desk
- Adjust your chair height to keep your elbows at the same height as your keyboard.
- Your arms should be relaxed and bent at a 90° angle.
- When the height of the chair and the armrests are adjusted properly, your wrists will be in a straight position with minimal bending.
4. Position Your Knees And Feet Properly
When sitting, your knees should be level or slightly below your hips.
There should also be a small space from the back of your knees to the edge of the seat to minimize the pressure on your inner thighs.
Your feet should never be dangling off the floor or only partially on the ground. Use a footrest if possible to fully support your feet.
5. Use A Palm Rest For Typing Breaks
When typing or mousing, it is important to reduce the bending of the wrist as much as possible to avoid musculoskeletal disorders.
Improper use of a wrist rest can increase the pressure on the nerves on your wrist. In fact, it’s better to call it a palm rest since it is the palm or heel of your hand that should be resting on it.
Your palm rest should be firm enough to provide support, but still soft enough for comfortable use.
While typing, your wrist should be elevated above the palm rest. You only rest your palm on it during typing breaks.
It’s also better to not use the flipping legs at the back of your keyboard, as they prop up the keyboard and only causes wrist extension when typing.
6. Stop Sitting Up Straight – Recline That Chair!
A 2006 study found that sitting up straight for long periods of time strains the spine and its ligament. This 90° posture can cause deformity or even chronic back pain.
Instead, recline the back of your chair, so that you’re sitting at a 135° angle. This position puts the least amount of pressure on your back.
7. Get A Chair With Lumbar Support
Aside from a reclining feature, an ergonomic chair with lumbar support is crucial when it comes to maintaining proper posture.
Without lumbar support, the lumbar spine and lower back muscles get tired from supporting the upper body, especially if you’re working long hours.
To compensate for this tiredness, the head and upper back will slightly lean forward, leading to a slouching position.
An ergonomic chair with adjustable lumbar support can help you customize it to fit the natural curve of your back. Some of the better ones even come with headrests that pivot to support your upper body at the same time.
If your chair doesn’t have lumbar support, use a small pillow or a rolled towel to reduce the pressure on your lower back.
8. Opt For A Vertical Mouse
When mousing, it is always best to maintain a neutral position. This handshake position is ideal because it eliminates forearm pronation, and it places the pressure on the side of the hand instead of the wrist.
A vertical mouse can keep your forearm and wrist in a neutral position, preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and other musculoskeletal disorders.
If you still prefer using a traditional mouse, make sure that it is contoured enough to fully support your entire palm.
As much as possible, use keyboard shortcuts instead of your mouse.
As you can see, most if not all of the ergonomic adjustments can be made quickly, though the benefits are long-lasting.
What other tips do you have to improve your workstation? Let us know in the discussion section below.