Following on from last month’s blog on driving position, this month I’m going to discuss your seated desk posture. Many jobs now involve long hours seated at a desk and poor posture can lead to unwanted aches and pains.
Here are my 7 tips on how to set up an ergonomically correct workstation and help eradicate those aches and pains:
1. Adjust the chair height so your feet are flat on the floor and your hips are slightly higher than your knees. Try to avoid crossing your legs. This will keep your spine in a stable, neutral position, preventing you from slouching forwards and placing excess pressure on your spinal discs.
2. Keep your wrist position neutral – avoid bending the wrists upwards or downwards to type. Your wrists should not be bent more than 20° from horizontal. A wrist rest will help your hands hover over the keyboard, but make sure it’s not too high as this may encourage you to hold the wrist at a bad angle.
3. Adjust the keyboard – position the keyboard so that when typing your upper arms hang vertically by your sides with your elbows bent at 90°. You don’t want to be extending your arms too far forwards as this may encourage slouching. A keyboard tray under the desk is a useful way to bring the keyboard within easy reach and at the correct height.
4. Alternate between your left and right hand when using the mouse. This will reduce the chance of any repetitive strain injuries.
5. Adjust the computer monitor – your computer monitor should be positioned at eye level 20-40 inches away from you and should be directly in front of you to avoid rotating. Turning your head in one direction for prolonged periods fatigues the neck muscles and causes excess strain.
6. Re-arrange your worktop – place items (phone, books, paper) within easy reach of your seat so you are not straining to reach frequently used objects. Place the printer at a distance so you are regularly moving throughout the day!
7. Move frequently – stand up and stretch! There are many stretches you can perform at your desk (if you would like a sheet then please ask). Alternatively there are now sit-to-stand desks that allow you to move and change position regularly throughout the day.