A Healthy and Happy Workplace
With more people working in an office environment than ever before, whether in company premises, at hot-desking facilities, from home or even whilst commuting, it’s becoming increasingly important for staff to understand the importance of ergonomics. If you’re unsure of its meaning, ergonomics is the design, setup and efficiency of a working environment, with a large focus being placed on how you sit at your desk, the position of your IT equipment, and ways in which you combat potential physical and physiological complaints. Here are some of our top tips for a safe and healthy office.
Adjust your chair
Due to so much work being computer-based, you will spend a lot of time sitting down. Human beings weren’t designed for such a sedentary lifestyle, so prolonged periods in the same position can lead to anything from aching muscles to impeded blood flow. That’s why your chair is the first place to start when it comes to creating the perfect arrangement, as it influences every part of your body. Make sure that the chair is comfortable, sturdy and easy to manoeuvre (adjustable settings and castor wheels are an excellent investment). Next, the seat should be at a level whereby the keyboard and mouse are at elbow height, with your wrists flat whilst typing. This will go a long way to guaranteeing an optimum working posture.
Look after your spine
Whilst it’s tempting to perch on the edge of your seat, lean forwards or slump, this will only lead to backache. Your back should be resting against a cushioned surface at all times, preventing aches and strain.
Soften the blow
Even with the above arrangement, your wrists can develop twinges during long sessions of typing and writing. Purchasing specially designed keyboards, wireless peripherals and cushioned rests for the desk can combat this.
Adjust the screen
The computer screen can be customised two ways: its physical position and its display settings. It should be directly in front of you and at a height that allows you to view it clearly without having to angle your head. You can then tweak the brightness and contrast if required, making it as easy on the eyes as possible. You should also keep 20-40 inches between your eyes and the screen at all times, as being any closer could cause tiredness and headaches.
You deserve a break
Sitting at a desk (or indeed anywhere) all day isn’t good for the body. Ideally, you should stand up for a couple of minutes every 20-30 minutes. This may sound like a lot of time away from your workstation, so use it productively by grabbing a glass of water, going to the toilet, tidying the office or catching up with workmates on any business matters that don’t require an email. You can even bypass all of this by converting to a standing desk, is a setup that’s becoming quite popular across the UK.
The 20-20-20 Rule
When we sit staring at a screen, we often forget to blink as often as we should. This may not sound like a big deal, but it can cause the eyes to become dry, strained and even lead to long-term problems with your vision. The 20-20-20 Rule helps to prevent this: every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eye muscles a break. If you don’t want to waste precious time, combine this with a stretch of the legs, even if it’s a case of filing away some paperwork or grabbing your next caffeine boost.
Keep things in easy reach
Even in a digital world, it’s amazing how many physical objects we require to get our jobs done. Though we’ve already recommended moving around on a regular basis, having stationery, paper files and other equipment in places that require stretching or bending can overexert muscles in a way that’s bad for them. By placing everything in easy reach, you can remain comfortable whilst maximising productivity.
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