Posture Perfect: Tips for Creating an Ergonomic Work Environment

Keeping your body in the same, or wrong, position for an extended time can have an enormous effect on how we feel. Even though we may not notice it in the moment, it can be a source of chronic pain and impact everything from our ability to concentrate to our capacity to enjoy physical activities.

Workplace injuries don’t have to refer to dramatic accidents and, in fact, are more commonly a result of ergonomics. Injuries and conditions directly related to the lack of ergonomics in a work environment can include bursitis (an inflammation in the small sac of fluid that cushions the bones and tendons and muscles around your joints), tendinitis (when a tendon experiences long-term changes from wear and tear), and repetitive stress injury (a condition given to a wide-range of injuries including sore and uncomfortable arms, wrists, upper back, shoulders, or hands).

Here are some relatively easy fixes for common ergonomic problem. They don’t require an office revamp, or a whole lot of time, but they will save you a world of pain.

Sit Up Straight

Good posture is about more than what is comfortable. What doesn’t hurt now doesn’t mean it won’t end up hurting you in the long run. Be mindful of how you sit and invest in a good chair to help you take care of yourself. Since this is where you’ll be spending most of your time working, look for a chair that supports the curves of your spine. It should have an adjustable seat so you can rest your feet flat on the floor with your hips parallel. The armrests should also be adjustable, so when you relax your shoulders, your arms rest comfortably. Go traditional with a high back and mesh fabrication for excellent breathability, or try the kneeling chair, which comes with a small learning curve, but a considerable positive impact.

Put Your Feet Up

If your chair isn’t adjustable, or you find your chair too high for you to rest your feet flat and comfortably on the floor, use a footrest. Take stock of what’s around and maybe grab a stack of books, or go for a tilting footrest. This helps keep your hips and back aligned and relieves pressure so you can sit for longer without placing undue strain on yourself.

Quality Command Centre

The placement of your monitor, mouse and keyboard are vital when it comes to keeping you aligned. Make sure that your keyboard and mouse are positioned so your arms can sit straight, supported by the armrests of your chair. Make sure your monitor is eye level to avoid any neck strain by having to position your head up or down. Take care of your eyes by ensuring that your monitor is in good shape, that you adjust the backlighting to reduce glare and that if you wear glasses, they are coated to lessen the impact of the blue light from your screen, which can also cause eye strain.

Stay Connected

If you find you’re spending a lot of time on the phone, make sure you’re using headphones or a speaker because even though cradling it in between your head and neck might be super convenient, it’s also super not good for you. Try noise-canceling headphones. They not only help you keep your work conversations confidential, but they also keep out the ambient noise in your environment.

By Staples Canada

April 27, 2020