Do you experience headaches, eyestrain, sore muscles or any other type of discomfort after 8 hours of work in front of your computer? You’re not alone. According to studies, about 75% of us endure pain a few times a week or more due to sedentary work.
What is more, sitting for extended periods of time is named as one of the factors that cause premature death, researchers say. Other correlating illnesses include cardiovascular diseases, obesity, depression, and burnout.
But the negative effects of working at the desk can be significantly reduced if you apply proper ergonomics principles.
Ergonomics help people design and adjust their workplace so that it suits your physical capabilities, as well as diminishes the risks of sedentary lifestyle.
Below you’ll find a list of simple, yet effective workspace changes you can implement in your office, or at home (if you’re working remotely).
Standing desks are one of the simplest solutions for issues related to sedentariness. Such a desk can be used as a regular, sitting desk, but also adjusted (using a lever, pneumatic or electrical mechanism) to make it a stand-up desk.
A standing desk can be a perfect solution for you if during the day you feel a strong urge to stand up or correct your posture after sitting in a fixed position for 1–2 hours.
Make sure, however, that you don’t spend your whole workday standing, as it may cause swelling of knees and ankles or vein inflammation.
What’s the most important piece of office furniture? The chair, of course! But it shouldn’t be just any chair. You’re going to spend 1/3 of your day on it, after all — so make sure you sit on something good for you.
An ergonomics-friendly chair supports the spine and displaces your weight onto the chair, maximizing your comfort. With a proper chair, your feet should touch the floor, and your elbows should rest on the desk.
Alternatively, you can use a kneeling chair or an exercise ball that correct your posture and increase your muscle strength.
Correcting your posture
Our bodies differ. Because of that, there’s a great chance that even the priciest, ergonomics-friendly and award-winning chair won’t perfectly fit your body. This is why you should pay attention to your posture and the way you’re sitting or standing — especially if you do so for a few hours a day.
Make sure that your arms are resting freely on a flat surface, and pay special attention to your head and neck: people tend to crane their heads forward-and-down to look at their screen. Consider lifting your screen or laptop using a monitor stand to secure proper position.
Bring nature to your office
Office spaces often lack proper lighting and airflow. Because of that, they feel a little unnatural.
Make sure that the drapes and roll-blinds at your office aren’t blocking sunlight. Add some air-filtering plants, ventilate the room frequently and consider installing an air filter.
And don’t forget to go outside during your breaks to boost your mood and recharge your mind!
Find your needs
Take some time to think of what makes you productive and happy at the office. Also think about what distracts or annoys you.
Need some quiet time? A pair of noise-cancelling headphones can help you focus on your work and get rid of office static.
Need to take a break? Make use of the office’s breakout room or canteen to socialize with your coworkers.
Remember, you’re entitled to take care of your physical and mental well-being at work. Make use of it. Exercise, take a walk, and then return to your desk with charged batteries.
Based on this guest post by Johanna Cider.