Tips for a Healthy Workstation
Many people who work an office job spend much of their day sitting at a desk. And while you may think sitting down isn’t all that bad for your health, research has proven that extended sitting can be harmful.
The good news is there are ways to overcome negative side effects of sitting at a desk. Take a look at our simple tips to make your workstation more ergonomic and for staying active at work.
What Is Ergonomics?
To recognize how a well-set up workstation affects your day to day, it’s important to understand what ergonomics means. Ergonomics, according to OSHA, can be defined simply as the study of work. It’s about adapting tasks, work stations, tools and equipment to fit the worker’s needs in order to reduce physical stress on the body. In other words, it’s adjusting your work environment, like your workstation, to help you stay efficient, safe, happy and healthy.
Setting up an Ergonomically Correct Workspace
From your chair, mouse, monitor and more, creating a healthy workstation starts with what you use and how you set up your space.
Invest in an adjustable chair. An adjustable chair allows you to adopt a more natural posture that can help keep back pain at bay. Make sure the position of your chair allows your feet to rest on the floor and your knees to be level with your hips. And only use a chair that has lumbar support for your back.
Pay attention to posture. Being conscious of your posture is important. Keep your body centered in front of your screen and avoid crossing your legs and hunching over your keyboard.
Standing desk benefits. Reducing back pain, increasing productivity, improving your energy levels and lowering your risk of weight gain are a few of the proven benefits of a standing desk. Opt for a sit-stand desk, which is an adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing.
Monitor your monitor height. Reduce neck strain by placing your monitor at eye level to avoid frequently bending down or looking up.
Be mindful with your mouse. Place your mouse close to your keyboard and relax your wrist when using it. Try not to skate or flick the mouse with your wrist, but use controlled movements with your elbow as the pivot point instead.
Keep your distance. Avoid repetitive stress injury (RSI) in the wrists and fingers by placing your keyboard three to six inches in front of you.
Use a headset. Repeatedly craning your neck to hold a phone can cause the muscles in your neck to strain, so if you’re on the phone a lot, you may want to think about using a headset to avoid unwanted pain.
Avoid glare. You’ll want the brightest light source in your office to be at the side of your computer — it’ll help offset any glare from your monitor.
Leave space. Keep your desk clean and the floor around your workspace clutter-free to make sure you’ve got enough room to move around and sit comfortably. Also, working in a clean space is better for your mental health!
A healthy workstation involves having the right set up, but it’s just as important to incorporate wellness in the workplace. Here are a few ways to stay active and healthy at work:
Stretch regularly. Whether standing or sitting, stretching can be a great way to relieve tight muscles and help reduce painful straining. A good rule of thumb is to stretch for three to five minutes for every hour of sitting.
Walk it out. Part of creating a healthy workspace is being healthy yourself. Get out of your chair and go for a quick walk. Not only does this boost energy, but your productivity, concentration and efficiency as well.
Take the stairs. Does your office have an elevator? That means they have stairs, too! Burn some calories and get your heart rate going by skipping the free ride and using your legs instead.
Drink water. Lots of it. Your body thrives off of water. Hydrating helps optimize your energy and concentration, reduces headaches, weight gain and high blood pressure — among many other benefits. Create a healthier work environment by getting your recommended amount of water each day.
Creating a healthy workstation doesn’t have to be difficult. Making efforts to incorporate ergonomic friendly practices, as well as simply getting up and moving during the day, can make all the difference in your health and productivity.