Did you know that there is an ideal way to set up your work area to increase efficiency and reduce discomfort? That is what the study of ergonomics aims to achieve by tailoring a work space to the user’s needs. Though ergonomics is about fitting a work station to an individual’s needs, there are some general principles that you can apply right now.
Canadians on average spend roughly 10 hours a day sitting. That’s roughly 60% of your waking hours sitting. If you work in an office environment, you are more likely to be close to that 10 hour mark. Here are some suggestions to make your time sitting more comfortable:
- Your chair should be adjustable in seat pan height, angle, backrest height, backrest angle and have adjustable armrests
- When seated your upper legs should be 90 degrees horizontal and your lower legs should be perpendicular to the ground.
- Your seat height should be level with the back of your knee when your feet are on the ground or on a foot rest.
- Your back should be upright (or slightly reclined) and not twisted.
- Your shoulders should be relaxed with arms hanging 90 degrees vertical, with forearms 90 degrees horizontal.
- Tip: Even if you are working in an “ideal” posture, you need to change positions frequently throughout the day. Taking “microbreaks” (a 20s break/change of position) from static postures throughout the day is MORE important than maintaining the “perfect” posture.
You should aim to arrange the objects on your desk in a manner that things you frequently use are a forearm’s length away and less frequently used items are within an outstretched arm’s length away. Below are some guidelines for the placement of frequently used office items.
Your keyboard and mouse should be positioned about the same height as your elbow to maintain a neutral upright position. In addition, the letters G and H should be aligned with your nose.
If you spend the majority of your time viewing the computer screen, then it should be placed directly in front of you at height that when you are sitting upright looking forward, your eyes are looking at the top third of the screen.
If you use the phone frequently it should be placed close to the hand that will pick up the receiver. If you need to use both hands while on a call it is best not to cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder as this may strain your neck. Instead, opt to use a headset or use the hands free mode.
This is only a small glimpse into the world of ergonomics. Having a trained professional conduct an ergonomic assessment can assist you into making your work area more comfortable by recommending changes to your specific needs.
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To book an appointment for an ergonomic assessment with Physical Therapist Adam Bailey, you can email email@example.com