Whoever said sitting is the new smoking was right. We weren’t meant to sit in a chair in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. (Insert stretch break here).
Here are a couple tips to help optimize the ergonomics of your work space:
- Sitting: Make sure your feet are firmly planted on a hard surface. For many this is the floor, but for some who may be vertically challenged you may need to prop your feet up a couple inches on something solid. Make sure your back is right up against the back rest and that there is at least room to fit 3 or 4 fingers between the back of your knees and the seat.
- 90/90/90 Rule: Your knees, hips, and elbows should be roughly bent to 90 degrees each.
- Armrests: If your chair has armrests, they should be high enough that you don’t have to slouch to reach them but low enough that you don’t have to shrug your shoulders. Ideally your elbows will be at 90 degrees and your shoulders will be relaxed.
- Primary Zone: This is the distance between your elbows and your finger tips and is measured from the front of your body out. If you sit with your elbows stuck to your body and you rotate your arms outwards, the space you cover is inside the primary zone. Reserve this space for items you use to perform the majority of your work. (Example: If you type for most of the day and occasionally have to make a call, keep your keyboard in the center of the primary zone and the telephone just outside this space.)
- Monitors: Try to keep your monitor directly in front of you so that you don’t have to turn your neck. When seated, your eyes should be at the height of the very top of your monitor’s screen. This can be a challenge if you do your work on a laptop, since the screen is often too low. Tip: If you do a lot of work on a laptop, prop it up so the top of the screen is at the level of your eyes and then add a secondary keyboard/mouse (USB or Wireless) at the level of your elbows.
These tips can help you optimize your work station but I would still also recommend interrupting at least every 30 minutes of continuous seated work with a quick break to stand up and change positions even if it’s for only 5-10 seconds.
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