In the modern-day workplace, most of us spend far too long sitting hunched over at a desk. Unless you’re consciously aware of adjusting your posture and keeping your back straight, this is not a good way to spend a majority of your time.
Experiencing back and neck pain from an office job is becoming a far too common trend, and is often seen in people who should be too young to be falling asleep or waking up with aches and pains. Rather than constantly reaching for the bottle of ibuprofen, or even turning to alternative back and neck pain relief options such as topical CBD ointments, try first ensuring that your work station is set up in a way that is as ergonomically correct as possible – it may be a cheap and easy solution to any aches and pains you’re experiencing.
Even if you’re not experiencing pain yet, it is a good idea to assess your workstation and try to improve how ergonomic it is. Given that the medical cost of a chronic lower back disorder can rise up to $100,000, it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures to keep your posture as good as possible during your long days at the office. Not only could you save yourself some serious dollars down the line, but studies have also shown that investing in ergonomics in the workplace can boost your productivity and job satisfaction, among other things.
So sit up straight and pay attention as we outline some of the key factors to keep in mind when it comes to creating an ergonomically correct workstation.
#1. Go full Goldilocks on the height of your desk
The height of your desk is absolutely key to ensuring you have an ergonomically sound workstation. Your desk height needs to be just right – too high and you will strain your forearms as you write or type; too low and you will slowly turn into the Hunchback, straining your shoulders and back. So how do you know what the perfect desk height is? Well, if you’re sitting with your feet flat on the floor, you should be able to fit your legs comfortably under your desk, and you should also be able to comfortably cross your legs. Also, when your arms are resting on your desk, there should be a 90-100-degree angle between your upper arm and your forearm.
If you’re looking for a reference point for desk height, the Canadian Standards Association recommends a desk height of 73 cm, plus or minus 2.5 cm. Depending on how tall you are and how long your legs are, your needs may vary. As well as having a desk that’s the right height, it’s also very beneficial to be able to adjust the height of your desk throughout the day. Humans weren’t built to sit in one place for upwards of eight hours a day, so being able to adjust the height of your desk and stand while you work can help with increasing your productivity, reducing fatigue, and also preserving your sanity.
#2. Treat yourself to the chair of your dreams
Buying an expensive office chair may seem like a lavish and unnecessary expense, but when you stop and think about just how much time you spend in it (yes, it’s a little depressing), you’ll realize that it really isn’t. Having a good, comfortable chair is another huge part of creating an ergonomic workspace. Anybody who has gone shopping for office chairs knows that there are literally hundreds to choose from – it can be quite an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. You basically just need to find a chair that is comfortable to sit in, and as adjustable as possible. Make sure you can adjust the height, the backrest recline and degree of tilt, and arm rests. You’re also going to need a chair with ample lumbar support – if you feel as though your chair is not supporting your back enough, it may be worth investing in a lumbar support pillow.
#3. Accessorize your desk
You’re going to be spending so much time at your desk that you want to make it as comfortable as possible and ensure you feel completely at home while you’re sitting there working. Make sure you have a high quality keyboard and mouse – the most ergonomic of these will try to keep your hands and arms in their natural positions while you work. Ensure your monitor is placed around 20 inches in front of you, and consider investing in a stylish pair of “computer glasses” with a special blue light filter to stop harmful rays from hitting your eyes that may cause eye fatigue, macular degeneration, or even blindness.
Most importantly – remember to take breaks. Walk around, stretch your legs, give your eyes a rest. Even the most ergonomically designed and comfortable workstation shouldn’t be occupied for ten hours straight.