You spend a lot of time at your desk, but did you know that you could be causing long-term health problems? It’s true. Sitting at your desk all day long can increase your risk of a variety of health problems like heart disease and lower back pain. If you’re willing to make a few tweaks to your workstation, though, you can live a healthier life and be more productive.
Create Healthy Posture Healthy posture is absolutely essential if you want to prevent back, wrist, elbow, and even hip pain. Adjust the chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor. This will keep your knees and torso at roughly the same height. Ergonomically, this is perfect for chair-sitting.
Don’t push your elbows out. Keep them tucked in and comfortably “hanging” at your sides. If your boss will allow it, try to incorporate standing periodically throughout the day. Of course, this will require that you get a height-adjustable desk. If your boss resists the idea, try to convince him that it will not only improve your health but it will boost productivity too.
Set Up a Healthy Desktop healthy desktop is one that’s uncluttered. Place items that you use frequently within arm’s distance. Everything else goes into a drawer somewhere, a cupboard, a cabinet, or in storage. It’s pretty common for desktops to get unwieldy. Paper clips, staples, pens, pencils, markers, little bottles of hand sanitizer, loose change from lunch, books, magazines, scissors, and a thousand other little non-essentials are always there, begging for your attention.
These are things you constantly have to move out of the way to get at what you want. Eating lunch at your desk is also an epic distraction. Not only do you not really have enough space to eat, you can’t relax, you can’t really work effectively and focus, and you also risk spilling food all over your keyboard and important paperwork.
Another way to keep your desktop healthy is to keep the monitor at eye level. Instead of having to look down at what you’re typing, move your monitor so that you’re looking straight at it. This will reduce neck strain as well as eye strain. Get The Right Desk The right type of desk can also make a huge difference in how productive you are. One of the best desks for organization is L-shaped desks. They allow you to shove the monitor in the corner, arrange items by priority, and segregate your work space.
Place The Mouse Near the Keyboard There are some weird office and desk setups, but one of the weirdest is placing the mouse away from the keyboard. Since you use the mouse frequently throughout the day, place it right next to the keyboard. You won’t have to change your wrist posture much, and it will reduce repetitive strain from reaching.
Keep Your Keyboard at an Acceptable Height Just as with chair height, your keyboard height is important for good ergonomics. Your forearms should bend no more than 20 degrees above horizontal if you’re sitting and no more than 45 degrees below if you’re standing.
Your Arms Should Hang Vertically Your arms should hang vertically regardless of whether you’re sitting or standing. Don’t extend your arms far forward or backward to type. Keep The Monitor at The Proper Distance The monitor should be between 20 and 40 inches from your face. This will go a long way toward reducing eye strain and fatigue. Albert Stayton is an office supervisor. He has spent his career refining the tips and tricks of a successful office environment.