Consider ergonomics when on your computer to reduce pain and improve health
Sitting in an office chair might not sound like the most physically taxing job, but in reality, sitting for extended periods can cause health complications, fatigue, and pain. The risk of these health issues can also increase if you’re not giving enough thought to office ergonomics—designing your workspace for maximum comfort and efficiency.
Follow these office ergonomics tips to care for your health at work (or at home!) while maximizing your focus and productivity:
- Get a supportive seat
- Position your computer screen at eye level
- Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle
- Place your feet flat on the floor
- Mix it up with a sit-to-stand desk
- Maintain good (but relaxed) posture
- Take regular breaks
Below, learn more details about these office ergonomics tips and why they’re essential for both your office or home workspace.
Get a supportive seat
When you’re sitting for extended periods of time, the seat matters. An ergonomic office chair should be fully adjustable, have a contoured seat, and have lumbar support to help maintain the natural curves of your spine.
Position your computer screen at eye level
Your neck and back are two of the body parts that can be most affected by computer work. If you find yourself craning up or looking down to see your screen, it may cause neck and shoulder strain. Having the screen an arm’s length away at eye level means you’ll be able to read it while keeping your neck and spine in alignment. If you’re using a laptop, this means either getting a separate monitor or a separate keyboard so you can adjust them according to your needs.
Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle
Speaking of keyboards, your wrist positioning can help you avoid conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Your seat and armrests should be at a height that enables you to rest your arms, keep your wrists straight, and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle as you type and use your mouse.
Place your feet flat on the floor
If you cross your legs, your feet dangle, or you find yourself perching on tip-toes all day, it can throw your alignment off-kilter and restrict blood flow. In addition to flat feet, your knees should be at a right angle. If your chair doesn’t allow this positioning, an ergonomic footrest can get everything to the right height.
Mix it up with a sit-to-stand desk
Standing all day doesn’t sound much more appealing than sitting all day. But going back and forth can be the perfect medium! Adjustable desks can raise or lower your workstation so you can stand or sit based on how you feel. This keeps the workday more physically interesting, lets you stretch and circulate the blood during standing stints, and engages different muscle groups.
Maintain good (but relaxed) posture
Good posture doesn’t have to mean you’re sitting or standing with your body straight and rigid like a soldier. On the other side of the spectrum, being relaxed doesn’t mean slumping or slouching, either. The happy medium is to relax your shoulders, invest in equipment that supports your body’s natural curves, and stretch out your muscles if you feel them getting tense.
Take regular breaks
Humans weren’t meant to sit and stare at a screen for 8 or more hours straight. Taking regular breaks to stand up, move around, and give your eyes a rest can make a huge difference. Do a walking lap around the office (or your house, if you’re working from home). Learn some simple yoga stretches—even if you do them for 15 seconds every 15 minutes, they can make a big difference. Aim to get up from your seat at least once an hour. And when you finish with work for the day, don’t just trade your work computer for staring at your phone or TV: choose a screen-free activity that gets you moving more!