Women In Business

Top 10 things for a healthier desk

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Business can be exhausting enough as it is. But could your desk set-up be making you even more tired – or worse, causing you permanent physical stress? Poor ergonomics can have a huge detrimental effect on your working day and your future health. So we called on ergonomic expert Hannah Tucker from TheBackStore.com for advice on how to ensure our offices and desk are set up for the best physical – and mental – performance.

Today, it seems as though the technological modern world we live in has made office and computer-based jobs more common than ever before. Approximately 86% of people sit all day, every day – whether it’s when they’re relaxing at home, or grinding through the hours at their desk. Although sitting around may not seem dangerous on the surface, it’s important to remember that improper positioning can wreak havoc on your body.

If you haven’t taken the time to ergonomically re-design your office, it’s about time you start incorporating the items on this list to create a healthier, happier, and more productive work space.

1. A supportive chair

Are you sitting comfortably? Most people today aren’t. If you’re going to be sitting all day, you need to ensure that your joints fall and align naturally to reduce strain on your muscles. Purchase a chair that is supportive, and maintains the natural curvature of the spine. The right ergonomic chair should be adjustable, so that you can ensure your feet are resting flat on the floor, or on a footrest to reduce pressure in the lower back. At the same time, your chair should have adjustable armrests that allow you to keep your arms close to your sides, a breathable padded seat for optimum comfort, and easy maneuverability so that you can reach for items such as a stapler, documents, or even the telephone.

2. A memory foam back rest

Your office chair may give you the perfect posture, but fall short when it comes to providing back support. This doesn’t mean that you should buy a new chair, but you could consider buying a pressure and temperature sensitive back rest to attach to your current chair for extra comfort while you’re working. These cushions can also be useful in ensuring that you maintain the best upright posture throughout the day.

3. A desk that supports neutral body positioning

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, the number one aim in ergonomically designing your office space should be to set up your workstation in a way that supports “neutral body positioning”. Select a desk that fits with your chair and body to ensure that you feel at rest whenever you’re working at it. You shouldn’t be reaching up or straining just to get your hands on your keyboard, and your desk should have enough adjustable features to ensure that everything from your monitor to your mouse is in the right place.

4. An optional standing desk

Although the idea of standing up all day at work can be hellish to some people, it’s worth noting that it’s difficult to keep from slouching when you’re sitting down for extended periods of time. If you want to give your body the best benefits available from its natural upright instinct, then you might consider including a standing desk in your office. Remember, a standing desk doesn’t have to be your only option – it could be in an alternative location you move to when you need a break from sitting down. Alternatively, you could always try out an adjustable desk that allows you to change from standing to sitting as frequently as you like.

5. A floor mat

If you do decide to invest in a standing desk, then you’re going to need to think about the amount of pressure that you’re imposing on your feet. Purchasing the right floor mat can help you fight back against fatigue by offering the combination of softness and support you need to remain supported while standing.

6. The right spacing

The next thing you’ll need to think about when re-designing your office, is how the items on and around your desk should be spaced. It may seem somewhat pedantic, but everything from your keyboard shelves, to the position of the monitor, and the location of your mouse can have an impact on your overall comfort. Understanding the basics of key object positioning can be particularly useful, as it ensures your printed materials, phone, and any other necessary items are close at hand to avoid excessive stretching.

7. A properly positioned computer monitor

Whether you use a desktop computer or a laptop, your monitor should be about 18 to 28 inches in front of you, with the top of the screen just below eye level. Having to stare down at your laptop can be damaging to your neck, and cause severe problems with discomfort over time. If you’re using a laptop as your regular machine for work, there are numerous solutions that you can adopt to make sure that the screen is in the right position – from laptop stands to DIY concepts. On the other hand, if you have a computer monitor and the right desk, it should be easy for you to adjust the positioning so that the screen is clear and easy for you to see from your seat. Try to tilt the monitor so that the base is closer to you than the top, as this should allow you to view the entire screen more clearly.

8. The right keyboard

The more we learn about ergonomics, the more companies are coming up with new designs and innovations for the perfect keyboard. Today, it’s possible to buy keyboards for just about any need – whether you want your keyboard split in two, height adjustable, or to come with a nifty cushion for extra wrist-comfort. If you’re spending thousands of hours typing every year, then you should have a keyboard that supports your wrists, adjusts to your needs, and protects you against the pain of RSI.

9. The perfect mouse

Just as it’s important to give yourself the right support when you’re typing, it’s also crucial to make sure that you’re using the right mouse. From joint pain, to carpal tunnel syndrome, there are plenty of risks associated with using a poorly-designed mouse. The right mouse should fit perfectly in your hand, and be sensitive enough that you don’t need to move your arm great distances in order to reposition the cursor.

10. An anti-glare screen filter

Eye strain is a serious concern for people who spend most of their day staring at a computer screen. The more you focus on a bright digital screen, the more you may find that your concentration suffers. One option is simply turning on “Clear Type” in Microsoft windows to improve your monitor refresh rate. Alternatively, you could invest in a glare screen filter that’s designed to reduce disturbances caused by light on your monitor screen.  

Design Your Workspace


Some people fail to notice just how unfriendly their workstation is to their health and wellbeing, while others have already experienced the impact of musculoskeletal issues, bad posture, and repetitive strain injury. Various factors lead to injuries even while you’re sitting at your desk, and these things may not be immediately obvious. For instance, tense or slouched shoulders can lead to pinched nerves and painful wrists, whereas bending over a keyboard can cause digestive problems.

Which pieces of equipment do you consider to be the most essential to your office ergonomics?

About Hannah Tucker

Hannah Tucker is the mastermind behind product management at LinkedIn. Hannah has a (healthy) shoe obsession and resides in the beautiful and sunny San Diego. She has a fascination for ergonomics and its effect on workplace culture and productivity.

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