If you’re like most people, you spend the majority of your day at work in front of a computer – either staring at spreadsheets or editing reports. You probably don’t pay much attention to how your workstation setup is affecting your comfort and posture, especially if you have been sitting there for years. However, over time, even minor tweaks to your workstation layout can have a major impact on your discomfort and pain while working long hours each day, which in turn can have an impact on your productivity and on the quality of your work product. Here are 10 ways to immediately improve workstation ergonomics.
1) Stand up
- Invest in a good chair that supports your back and keeps your feet flat on the floor.
- Adjust your monitor so it’s at eye level. This will help reduce neck strain.
- Place your keyboard and mouse within easy reach so you don’t have to strain your arms or shoulders.
- Use a document holder to keep papers at the same level as your monitor. This will help reduce eye fatigue.
- Get a wireless headset to avoid having to twist and turn your neck when on calls.
- Take regular breaks to walk around and stretch. This will help prevent stiffness and soreness. It also gives your brain a break from sitting too long without moving.
- Keep your phone close by so you can take a call while walking around.
- Eat lunch away from your desk to give yourself a break and let your body rest, but make sure to do this only occasionally as eating at work can lead to weight gain!
- Set an alarm on your computer or phone if you’re going to be sitting for more than 30 minutes straight, which is time enough for someone who sits all day at work (or beyond) to go pee!
- Avoid wearing high heels, especially if they force you into an unnatural posture – this could cause discomfort or even pain!
2) Position your computer correctly
Your computer screen should be at eye level, and about an arm’s length away from you. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level.
You should be able to sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, and your knees at a 90-degree angle. If you can’t, adjust your seat or use a footrest.
Your keyboard and mouse should be close to you so you don’t have to reach for them.
Use a ergonomic keyboard and mouse if possible.
Position your monitor so there is no glare on the screen. If necessary, use an anti-glare screen.
Take regular breaks to avoid eye strain.
3) Get rid of clutter
- Make sure your work area is clean and uncluttered. Having a messy desk can make it harder to focus and be productive.
- Invest in a comfortable chair that supports your back and helps you maintain good posture.
- Adjust your monitor so that it’s at eye level. This will help reduce neck and eye strain.
- Take regular breaks to stretch and move around. Sitting in the same position for too long can lead to discomfort and pain.
- Use a headset or speakerphone when possible, instead of cradling the phone between your head and shoulder.
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach so you don’t have to strain or reach awkwardly for them.
- Install a document holder near your computer screen to avoid straining your eyesight as you read and type.
- Clear off any cords on the floor near your desk that could get stepped on or tripped over.
- Consider using an ergonomic keyboard if you spend a lot of time typing, which may reduce finger and wrist strain;
- Make sure there’s enough light coming into the room where you’re working so it’s not too dark – this will also help prevent eyestrain.
4) Clean your screen
If you can’t see your screen properly, you’re likely to strain your eyes. Dust and fingerprints can accumulate on your monitor, making it difficult to see. Use a soft, clean cloth to gently wipe away any debris. If you use multiple monitors, be sure to clean them all.
Consider getting a computer monitor stand if the monitor is too low or too high for your desk height. Remember to take breaks every hour or so, avoid reading documents at an angle, keep the top of the keyboard level with the top of the desk, adjust where things are located in relation to one another (monitor versus keyboard), and get up from time-to-time during long periods of sitting.
5) Organize your cords
Are you always looking for that one particular cord? Do you have a bunch of cords draped over your workstation, just waiting to be tripped over? If so, it’s time to get organized. Here are some ways to do it -Buy a Velcro cable wrap and organize them according to use: USB cords together, power strips together, etc.
Create a handy-dandy little stash on the underside of your desk (or on top) where all the cables can live. It doesn’t need to be fancy; as long as they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind! Just make sure you know where they are when you need them!
6) Think outside the box
Here are 10 tips to help you improve your workstation ergonomics:
- Get a comfortable chair that supports your back and promotes good posture.
- Adjust your monitor so that it’s at eye level. This will help reduce neck strain.
- Use a wireless keyboard and mouse to eliminate the need for reaching.
- Position your keyboard and mouse within easy reach.
- Take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch.
- Invest in an ergonomic split keyboard if you type a lot.
- Keep your workspace clean and uncluttered to reduce stress levels.
- Monitor your posture throughout the day by using apps like SelfControl, Freedom, or Anti-Social to block distracting websites for intervals of time.
- Install anti-glare screens on your computer and get rid of any glare-producing items in your field of vision (e.g., windows).
- Add green plants to improve air quality and create a healthier environment!
7) Get the right chair
You might not think that your chair has much of an impact on your workstation ergonomics, but it actually plays a big role. If you don’t have a comfortable, supportive chair, you’re likely to experience back pain, neck pain, and general discomfort. Not to mention, you’ll probably be less productive. So it’s important to invest in a good chair that will help you stay comfortable throughout the day. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a chair -The seat should provide lumbar support so that you can maintain a neutral spine position.
-The height of the seat should allow you to place your feet flat on the floor with knees at 90 degrees (if this isn’t possible, try adjusting the height of the chair).
-Armrests should be positioned at or below elbow level. And they shouldn’t interfere with arm movement or shoulder width (most people need armrests, but some people may want them too low).
-Look for chairs with adjustable features like tilt tension and back angle adjustment so that you can customize them to meet your needs.
8) Relax your shoulders
- hunched shoulders can lead to tension headaches and migraines. try this simple exercise: sit up straight in your chair and let your arms hang relaxed at your sides. now, slowly raise your shoulders as high as you can, then release them back down. do this 10 times.
- take mini-breaks throughout the day. set a timer for every 20 minutes and when it goes off, stand up and stretch for a minute or two. try different stretches each time – there are lots of great ones online.
- adjust your monitor so it’s at eye level. if you have to look up or down while working, you’re putting strain on your neck and shoulders.
- use a comfortable, supportive chair. chairs with lumbar support are especially helpful for people who spend long hours sitting. make sure the height is right too; you should be able to rest your feet flat on the floor and have a slight bend in your knees when seated.
- invest in an ergonomic mouse (or trackball). most people don’t realize that what they type on their keyboard affects how they move their mouse, which could result in carpal tunnel syndrome or other injuries.
- get a standing desk if possible; being able to alternate between sitting and standing will help keep muscles limber
- wear supportive shoes!
- don’t slouch while typing. even if you have a wrist pad, avoid resting your wrists on the desk by propping them up on an object such as rolled-up towels or small pillows
- get regular eye exams! computer screens put a lot of strain on our eyes, which we often forget about until we start experiencing symptoms like dry eyes or burning sensations
- move around more during the day – whether it’s going for a walk, doing some light stretching, or something else – to give yourself periodic breaks from sitting still. getting outside every day is also important, not just because of vitamin D but because of all the natural light. if you’re really into self-care, google light therapy and see what that looks like in practice. happy winter!
9) Consider how you’re typing
- Check your posture. Make sure you’re sitting up straight with your shoulders back and your feet flat on the floor.
- Adjust your chair. Your chair should be at a height that allows your thighs to be parallel to the ground and your feet to rest flat on the floor.
- Use a footrest. If your feet don’t reach the ground when you’re seated, place a footrest under your desk so you can rest them comfortably.
- Position your keyboard and mouse. Your keyboard should be positioned so that your wrists are in a neutral position, and your mouse should be close enough to avoid reaching and stretching.
- Take breaks often. Get up and move around every 20 minutes or so to avoid stiffness and soreness. 9. Keep things tidy. Clutter is distracting and makes it hard to focus.
- Unplug anything that isn’t being used (e.g., your phone).
10) Change your position throughout the day
If you work at a desk all day, it’s important to make sure you’re not sitting in the same position for hours on end. This can lead to muscle strain and fatigue. Try to get up and move around at least once an hour, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
If possible, adjust your chair and desk height so that you can sit with good posture. Make sure your monitor is at eye level, and position your keyboard and mouse within easy reach. Taking these steps can help reduce strain on your body and improve your overall comfort while working.