More and more of us are spending increasingly longer time on our computers. We both spend our working time and our leisure time using computers! That’s why making sure your desk is as ergonomic as possible is very important.
An ergonomic space can reduce the chances of injuries in your back, carpal tunnel and may even increase the quality of your sleep! Here are five ways to make sure you’re working in a healthy, ergonomic space:
Keep a good posture
Whenever you sit at my desk you probably start with a straight posture and slowly melt on your chair until your posture is the worst possible. That’s normal! It just means that your starting posture may not be the best from the beginning.
Let’s start with your feet. Your feet should be properly flat on the floor. Your knees should be either at the height or slightly lower than your hips, never higher!
Do you get a pain on the back? That’s because your chair back isn’t ergonomically placed. The back should be placed at around 105 degree angle. Finally, make sure your shoulders are relaxed. You should monitor them constantly since we tend to tense them up quite quickly.
The perfect monitor position
You can’t keep a good posture if your monitor isn’t well positioned. To make sure your monitor is positioned ergonomically, follow these simple guidelines:
- Distance: Make sure your monitor is at arm’s length. Sitting too close may cause eye strain and sitting too far away may make you stretch your neck towards it.
- Height and position: Your monitor should be at eye level, directly in front of you, unless you wear bifocals. If you wear bifocals your monitor needs to be a few inches lower.
- Check your surroundings: Make sure your monitor isn’t catching any glare from a window. Get familiar with your brightness settings and adjust them to be the same brightness as your surroundings. That means adjusting it at night!
Mouse and keyboard placement
Having a proper mouse and keyboard placement is just as critical as sitting up straight. You don’t want to bend your arms too far or forcing you to break proper posture. Reaching constantly for them can cause fatigue and even injuries!
What you want to do is to set up your mouse and keyboard at the same height. Your keyboard should be directly in front of you with the mouse just at your right. Your keyboard shouldn’t be just straight on the table. Avoid unnecessary wrist strain by using the keyboard recliners so it’s on an angle.
Your mouse should be positioned following a straight line from your dominant arm. Do not place them on a surface that forces your arms to be elevated. You want to keep them at 90 degrees.
Get ergonomic accessories
Now you can get a more ergonomic desk setting your monitor at eye level by placing a whole bunch of books underneath. Effective? Yes. Elegant? Not so much. The absolute easiest way to set up a monitor or laptop the right way is simply by using a laptop or monitor stand.
You can also use ergonomic keyboards that allow your hands to flow more naturally through the keys, lumbar support for your chair, an elbow rest to avoid those pesky arm lines and even a document holder so you can see them at eye level!
These gadgets are made exclusively to improve your life.
Get up often
How often do you think you should get up from your desk? Every three hours? Two? Well, according to Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics in Cornell University, you shouldn’t spend more than half an hour at your desk without getting up!
He suggest to work for 20 minutes, stand for 2 and stretch for 8. And while that may be the best way, it might not be the most sustainable way to work. You should aim to get up every hour and get a short 5 minute walk around the office.
Use these breaks wisely! Get a glass of water to make sure that you’re also getting hydrated and connect with people around the office. Need to tell something to a co-worker? See if it’s not better to go tell them in person instead of sending a message. You can establish better connections and stay hydrated while being healthy!