Sitting down is an inevitable part of everyone’s day, whether it’s in the car or at your desk in the office. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us won’t not be sitting correctly, which causes unnecessary pain and stress to our bodies. Sitting for long periods of time leads to slower blood flow, weakening of the abdominal muscles, thinning of bones and a decrease in life expectancy. Think that’s bad? Sitting for long periods of times combined with incorrect or poor posture adds to this pile of ailments, as bad posture can increase feelings of depression, decrease energy levels and cut off circulation.
Here are three simple yet crucial changes you can make to your office environment in order to improve your posture and comfort at work…
Invest in ergonomic furniture.
Physically prevent strain to the spine by purchasing office furniture that provides the correct support. For example purchasing an ergonomic chair with adjustable seat height, tilt and armrests. Position your seat so your legs and knees are parallel to your hips or slightly lower, making sure your feet are on the floor and not crossed. Armrests should be low enough for your forearm to be parallel to the armrest and your shoulders remain relaxed, and should only really be used when you are pausing to type or reading.
Too much to remember? The Think chair from Steelcase intuitively adjusts to the weight and movement of the user, providing personalised and evenly distributed support. For maximum gain, pair this with the Ology desk, also from Steelcase. The Ology desk makes it easy to change the height and posture of your surface, as well as providing a soft edge profile to reduce shoulder and neck fatigue.
Position your computer and equipment correctly.
Your computer screen should be directly in front of you, with the top of the screen at eye level, and with 14-25 inches between your eyes and the screen. The keyboard height should allow your arms to slope down slightly in order to prevent wrist/elbow injuries as well as carpel tunnel. Position your mouse as close to you as possible, and to one side if you aren’t using your keyboard. Investing in a mouse mat with a wrist pad to help keep your wrist straight and to avoid awkward bending could be highly beneficial.
Allow time to take breaks and move around.
Scheduling frequent short breaks throughout the day reduces muscular tension and stress, as well as allowing for more consistent good sitting posture, resulting in greater creativity and work production. Every hour or so get up and take a mini-walk, or throw in a few sneaky desk exercises (you can read our blog on desk yoga exercises here). This will keep your blood flowing as well as having the added benefit of improving efficiency and concentration. If you’ve been working at a computer, ensure to also rest or exercise your hands and fingers if you are feeling strain or fatigue (e.g. by clenching your fists or spreading your fingers).
Get in touch if you want to find out more about ergonomic office furniture and if you need any advice on refitting your office.
Posted August 4, 2015