Career Woman

How to make your workstation ergonomic to stay pain-free and energised

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Struggling with three o’clock slump? Your workstation may be to blame. According to ergonomics experts – those who design the workplace to maximize worker ability and prevent injury – your workstation could be taking a hit on your energy levels. If you’re feeling sluggish or uncomfortable at work, or you simply want to be more productive, it’s time to analyze your workplace design.

Ergonomics can involve both your workstation and work environment. Today, we’ll go through some tips and tricks so you can make your workplace ergonomic and boost your productivity.

Set up your workstation

Your workstation should be comfortable and position your body in a neutral and aligned posture. This goes for any type of workplace – whether an office, warehouse or school. Whatever your workstation looks like, it should be easy to use natural posture and shouldn’t twist or burden your body.

Today we’ll focus specifically on the office workstation. Let’s go through the main elements of updating your desk so it’s ergonomic. 

Your chair

When you’re sitting all day at the office, your chair becomes an essential hub for your comfort. Your chair should be level so that your feet are flat on the floor and your eyes are level with the monitor. You should also be able to sit all the way back in your chair. It’s a good idea to get an adjustable chair so that you can change the height according to your footwear. If you don’t find it comfortable to sit all the way back in your chair, you can also update it with a lumbar pillow for maximum support. 

Your monitor

Your computer monitor should be at eye level. Make sure it’s adjusted so that you’re not craning your neck or poking out your chin to see the screen better. If it’s not at the right height, you can adjust it by placing a heavy book underneath. In addition, it’s important that you’re not straining to see the screen. If you can’t see it well when sitting all the way back in your chair, you should consider getting glasses or contact lenses.

Your keyboard and mouse

Moreover, your keyboard and mouse should be in easy, loose reach of your hands. If the keyboard is too far, you will likely slouch to reach it. If it’s too close, your hands will fold unnaturally too close to your body. Watch out for the angle of the keyboard as well. Experts say a keyboard lying flat or with an incline of up to 15 degrees is good.

Your phone

Cradling a traditional phone between your shoulder and your ear can cause strain in your neck and shoulders. Replace your office phone with a headset, so that you’re free to talk. In addition, if you use a cell phone – personal or professional – try to avoid using “text neck” when you look at it. If you must look at your phone, place it in front of you at eye level so that you’re not craning your neck down.

Your surface and desk

It’s also important to analyze your workstation surface. Is it at the right level? The surface should provide the right height for your monitor and keyboard to correctly fit your posture. In addition, be sure to keep a clean and tidy surface so that it doesn’t cause you stress during the day.

Your documents

Finally, if your work involves long hours of reading documents, get a document reader. This device will support your documents so that you can read them without craning your neck and causing strain. This will also help maintain straight posture in your chair.

Create a positive work environment

Let’s now look at how your work environment can be affecting your productivity and posture. Use these tips to create a more ergonomic-friendly workplace. 

Take breaks

In order to maintain good posture and keep your energy levels high, it’s extremely important to take regular breaks. If you sit in the same position for extended periods, your muscles will become stiff and strained. You shouldn’t be sitting for over an hour in the same position. Take “microbreaks” to stand and stretch, and even to walk around the office or the surrounding area. This will keep your muscles from clenching up and make you more productive in the long run.

Alternate tasks

You should also try to alternate tasks if possible. By alternating tasks, you’ll keep your brain energized and avoid staying in the same position for too long. For example, try to create relief from computer work, i.e. meetings, copying, filing, in-person visits, client calls. This will help you get up from your workstation and stay moving throughout the day.

Adjust glare and lighting

Eye strain is one of the most common workplace complaints. Depending on the natural light available in your workplace, be sure to continually adjust the glare and lighting of your area. Save settings for low, medium and high glare, and at least adjust the lighting between mornings and afternoons. Paying attention to lighting will keep your eyes from straining to see, or from overwhelming them. You can even try eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated, or invest in an anti-glare screen. 

Check your posture

You should also check your posture throughout the day. Studies show that workers are more productive when they use a “power position” of sitting up straight and avoiding slouching. You can even set an alarm on your phone to check your posture throughout the day. Make sure that you’re sitting and standing in aligned positions, with your eyes level, your shoulders back and down, and your feet flat on the floor. 

Nix the high heels

High heels can cause discomfort and upset the careful balance of your workstation. Try to avoid wearing high heels, or opt for a lower heel or inserts to keep you comfortable. Your footwear not only affects your standing posture, but also the height of your workstation, as your feet may not properly stay flat on the floor. Find an ergonomic balance by keeping your footwear low and sturdy.

Reduce stress

Stress can also be a bad influence on workplace posture. New studies show that stress can cause muscles to tense and create unnatural positions. It’s important that you try to stay calm during your workday so that you can avoid creating unnecessary stress in your body.

It’s clear: the ergonomics of your workplace are important. Use our tips to create a workstation and work environment that will keep you comfortable and productive as possible!

About Dr. Anthony Odney

Dr. Anthony Odney is a graduate of the Southern California University of Health Science where he earned his doctorate of chiropractic. In addition, he has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and kinesiology. Originally from Norway, Dr. Odney became a professional Wasilla chiropractor because of his belief that the human body is a marvelous machine that can be “fixed” by chiropractic care. At Better Health Chiropractor Wasilla, he continues to use a scientific-based chiropractic approach to help patients resolve their medical conditions.

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