The workweek can be stressful, mentally draining, and mundane. It’s important to remember, though, that this daily routine affects your physical health just as much as mental. There are ways you can, and should, change up office ergonomics in order to reduce physical stress.
Ergonomics refers to the study of how people interact with their environment. The purpose of ergonomics is to improve productivity, safety, health, and prevent injury. Office ergonomics focuses on the setup of an individual’s workstation and job surroundings—this includes everything from the placement of the desk, computer, and chair to noise level and lighting.
Ergonomics in the workplace can help people be more comfortable at work and reduce physical stress induced by repetition. Working in the same position over long periods of time increases the risk for musculoskeletal injuries such as back strain or carpal tunnel syndrome. Evaluating your workstation setup and job demands you can reduce this chance of injury.
Here are some ways to improve your workplace ergonomics:
- Take regular breaks from your work. Simply getting up every 20 minutes or stretching every so often reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries.
- Arrange your workspace in order to keep your neck and back in neutral positions.
- If you’re constantly staring at a computer monitor, give your eyes 10-15 second breaks frequently to reduce eyestrain.
- Vary your posture every so often. Don’t hunch!
- Organize all necessary tools and papers in your workspace to be easily accessible so that you don’t have to strain when reaching for them.
- Position your computer monitor at eyelevel to reduce strain on your neck.
- Choose a supportive chair that allows for normal curvature of the spine. Adjust it so that your feet can rest flat on the floor, which reduces stress to the lower back.
- Your keyboard should be kept at a height that allows elbows to be bent at 90 degrees next to your sides and is arms-length away from you.
- Make sure your desk is high enough that your knees and legs can fit comfortably underneath.
- If possible, opt for lighting that is bright enough that you don’t have to squint and reduce glare from windows or other screens.
Follow these tips to improve your workplace ergonomics and reduce physical stress caused by repetition.
Contact us at Action Reaction Physical Therapy for a checkup and to discuss strategies for a healthier workplace!
Featured photo from here, labeled for reuse.