Setting up an Ergonomic Workstation
This post is intended to help you set up an ergonomic workstation at work or home. Sitting at a desk for hours during the workday can be a killer for your body. No matter how well a workstation is designed, problems can arise if you don’t pay attention to the way your body is situated. Working at a computer often involves very few changes in body position and your body was made to move around and not to be sitting in a chair for hours on end.
Help your body by setting up a workstation that is more ergonomic
Here we go through a few ways to create a more ergonomic or more efficient and comfortable working environment. At the bottom of the post are some suggested stretches to help your body move and avoid any muscle pain or strain that can set in.
When creating a more ergonomic workstation it’s important that you adjust the furniture and equipment to suit your individual needs. This will place you in a good body posture while also reducing muscle strain and fatigue. You most likely sit in a chair so let’s concentrate on that first.
Adjust the chair’s backrest height, either up or down, to support the lumbar curve (small) of your back. To find your lumbar curve, hold your arms behind your back and comfortably clasp the opposite forearm near the elbow. When sitting at the computer, ensure your back is straight with your bottom at the back of the seat and make sure that the seat does not touch the back of your knees. This creates the correct position for your spine. If you can have a small foot rest to place your feet on that will take some stress off your lower back and legs.
Next let’s look at your desk position. Ensure that the top of your desk is high enough to allow your legs to fit comfortably underneath. If you use a computer then you more than likely use a keyboard. Position your keyboard so that it is in direct alignment with the computer screen. Make sure that the keyboard is flat to avoid typing on an angle which would put more stress on your wrists. The computer screen can be adjusted, or tilted, to a position that is about an arm’s length from your face and at an angle that your eyes are level with the top of the screen. Position the screen to minimize the glare and harsh reflections on your eyes.
Now that your workplace ‘fits’ you better, let’s look at some simple movements and stretches that are a healthy addition to your working day. When we are busy working we often don’t realize how much time has passed but it is recommended that you take a short break for 5-10 minutes for every hour spent at a workstation. If possible, stand up and walk for this time. This stretches out the legs and lower back, gets the blood moving around the body a little more, and changes your body’s position. It also gives you a short mental break from the work.
Some stretches can also be done: Reach both arms up over the head and push them to the sky while seated or standing. Hold the stretch for 5 to 7 seconds. Relax and repeat 3 to 5 times. This stretches the back, shoulders and arms. Next, take your hand and hold your fingers with the other hand. Slowly bend your wrist down until you feel a stretch on the top of your wrist. Hold the stretch for about 5 seconds. Relax and repeat 3 to 5 times. Change it up a little and slowly bend your wrist up until you feel the stretch on the bottom of your wrist. Hold and relax as you did before.
Be sure to reassess your workstation and adjust it to fit your needs and comfort level regularly and be sure to get up and move around.
Please feel free to check out more posts and tips on stretching and health here!
Check out our recommended ergonomic workstation products: