Do you have an ergonomic office setup? Probably not. Many of us spend hours each day sitting at out desks and we don’t even realize what it is doing to our bodies. Aching wrists, sore backs and shoulders, even hip and leg pain and excessive fatigue can all be caused by an improper desk set up.
We are going to help you and show you how to set up an ergonomic office, without spending too much money.
Egonomic Office Chair
The most important item to assuring your comfort and health is right beneath you; your chair. If you are spending money on anything, this is what you need to spend it on. A few basics that you should look for in a good ergonomic chair:
- Comfortable cushion — A hard seat is going to make you uncomfortable and is hard on your back. Even adding an inexpensive chair cushion can make a world of difference.
- Arm rests — Ensure that they are low enough for your arms to rest comfortably with your shoulders relaxed and your elbows at about a 90º angle.
- Adjustable seat height — You need a seat that allows you to keep your feet flat on the floor, your thighs parallel to the ground and your arms comfortably to your keyboard.
- Adjustable back rest — You want to adjust the back so it supports you while sitting in an upright position. Lumbar support is nice, but you can go with a less expensive model and use a rolled up towel instead.
- Wheels — This may not seem like an ergonomic necessity, but it is. If you have to bend, twist, stretch and reach for various things in your office you are putting a strain on your body. A chair that rolls, allows you to easily move towards the required object.
Keyboard and Mouse
Take a serious look at what you do most during the day. Is everything mouse work, is it all numbers work, or do you use your whole keyboard? If you use all of it then position your keyboard with the ‘B’ in front of you with the mouse just to the side of it. If you use primarily numeric keys or your mouse, you will want them to be closer to the hand that uses them.
You keyboard should be at a height that allows you type comfortably without bending your wrists. A good position will have your elbows bent near a 90º angle, thus the height of keyboard and mouse, should be almost in your lap; 1 to 2 inches above your thighs.
The position of your screen can have a big effect on how you sit; too far and you will be straining to look at it. Too low and you could be arching your back.
- Distance — Your monitor should be arms length away. Sit comfortably in your chair and extend your arm to the screen, you finger tips should be just brushing the monitor. If you use two monitors put them as close together as possible, your primary screen should be front and center. If both monitors are used equally then center them.
- Height — To find the ideal height for your monitors, sit correctly in the chair and stare straight ahead, you should be looking at the top third of your screen.
- Angle — Not one that is thought of often, but tilt your monitors down just a hair to avoid unnecessary glare.
- Angle — Finally, tilt the monitors down just a smidgen to avoid reflections.
Remember Your Posture
An ergonomic office set up will only do you so much good, if you don’t pay attention to your posture. If you slouch, lean backwards, or sit cockeyed then no matter how the office is set up you will eventually feel it. Exhaustion and aches are a few of the ways that your body will tell you that something is wrong. Take note of your posture and remember;
- Don’t slouch
- Keep your elbows in
- Keep your shoulders and back relaxed
Above all else, remember to occasionally get up and move. Try to get up and walk at least once and hour. Stretching and moving will help combat muscle fatigue and eye strain while allowing you clear your mind and refresh so you can work more productively.
Photo Credit: Fensterbme