Computer Desk Ergonomics
Do you finish work at your desk sore every day? Take a look at your workstation! It’s easy to tell the reason for pain when it is associated with a broken bone or sprained ankle, but what about the less obvious causes of the aches and pains we all get when we sit behind a desk all day? Spending time in the gym or working out outside can go far to keeping you healthy and fit, but 30+ minutes of exercise each day is no match for 6+ hours of being seated while we work. The advent of the sit-stand workstation has been helpful in promoting some movement, but standing still is also considered a static posture, which can lead to significant muscle strain and soreness.
So what can you do about your ergonomics?
First, take a look at your desk: Is your computer screen directly in front or is it off to the side? What about the equipment you use most often – pens, post-its, phone, are the all within easy reach? Ideally, you want whatever you are working on to be directly in front of you and at eye level when you are sitting up straight. If you have to twist to see your screen, lunge to reach your phone and other equipment, then you are putting additional pressure on your body. WorkSafe BC offers some helpful hints for how to set up your workstation here: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/how-to-make-your-computer-workstation-fit-you?lang=en
In addition to adjusting your workstation to fit you as well as possible, there are a few ideas to keep in mind throughout your day:
Take frequent micro-breaks: Not long, just enough time to move, stretch, have a sip of water, and shake out some of the kinks.
Posture posture posture: Remember to sit and stand straight. This helps to relieve pressure on your neck and shoulders and to avoid the dreaded “desk hunch”.
Take your scheduled breaks on time, and try to incorporate some movement. Resist the temptation to eat at your desk and work through your breaks, and take a quick walk or just step outside and get some fresh air.
If you have tried everything on your own to make sure that your workstation is fit for your body and still find that you are uncomfortable throughout the day, it might be worth getting an ergonomic assessment of your office to see if there are additional tweaks that could be made to improve your working conditions.