Seven Tips For An Ergonomic Workstation

» Posted on Sep 9, 2011 in Ergonomics, Health | Comments Off on Seven Tips For An Ergonomic Workstation

Sitting for hours on end at your desk is a trauma to the body. The short term effects of this may include neck pain, headaches, low and mid back issues or shoulder problems. Years of poor work posture can lead to permant degenerative changes in the spine. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the negative effects of your workstation, we can take several steps to greatly reduce the stress on our neck and back.

1. Computer Screen :  Looking down with our head in front of our shoulders is very stressful to the upper back and neck.   Raise the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level.  Also the distance from eye to screen should be such that we are not leaning into (or away from) the computer. 

2. Posture: The configuration of our desk and chair should be such that we are in the following posture:  Our head should be directly over our shoulders and hips.  Our upper arms should hang straight down with our lower arms bent at a 90 degree angle.  Our wrists should be straight.  The chair should offer support for this posture and be the correct height (with our feet flat on the floor our knees are bent at 90 degees, our thighs are parallel to the floor and our lower and midback is in contact with the chair).

3. Headsets:  If you spend a significant aomount of time on the phone, a headset is essential.

4. Laptops:  There is no getting around the fact that laptop computers hurt our posture.  While they are very convenient,  try to minmize long term use (a docking station may be a good idea).

5. Stretch Breaks: Place a small timer by your desk and set it to go off every 15 or 20 minutes. At these intervals spend 20-30 seconds rolling your head and shoulders, stretching your arms over your head, rotating your trunk, etc.  You do not even need to get of your seat!

6.  Exercise:  On lunch and coffee breaks move as much as possible.  Take a walk, try an exercise class just don’t sit some more.

7. Relax:  Try not to “tense up” at your work station.  During the day practice deep cleansing breaths or other stress reducing techinques.

These tips are general guidelines meant to minimize the effects of a poor workstation.  You may be able to do some but not all of them.  Obviously there are many situations where they may not apply.  If you have questions or concerns about your own situation please feel free to call us and we will try to answer your questions.