The average adult will spend more than 18 years of their lifetime sitting down.
Considering that 80% of today's workforce is employed in sedentary jobs and jobs that require minimal activity, it's no surprise that most of the time spent sitting occurs at work. All that sitting results in health problems, including cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal conditions.
The good news is, there are simple things you can do to reduce the health risks associated with all the sitting you do.
Some workplaces are adopting workspace ergonomics training in their wellness and as part of their company culture. But even if your workplace hasn't integrated something like this, there are things you can do to ensure you're avoiding those health risks.
Below are 10 things you can do to make your workspace more comfortable and healthy.
What Is Workspace Ergonomics?
Also called biotechnology, ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging the various tools that people use. The goal is to design and arrange them in a way that makes them more safe and efficient.
In the workspace, this involves studying how people interact with items like their keyboard, mouse, monitor, desk, and chair. These items can be arranged in a way that decreases any risks of injury and development.
It also involves incorporating more movement into your day, so there's less time spent sitting.
First Things First
When designing an ergonomic workspace, the first thing you have to do is figure out what your natural sitting posture is.
To do this, sit down in your chair. Keep your feet facing forward on the floor and place your hands in your lap. Relax your shoulders and lean back while tilting your pelvis so that your tailbone points downward.
Your vertebrae should be stacked in this position, and your back should move while you breathe. This is your natural position. You want to design your workspace around this posture.
Reposition Your Keyboard
When items such as your keyboard aren't in an ergonomically-friendly position, you're less likely to sit in your natural posture.
Your keyboard should only be 1-2 inches from your thighs. You can lower your desk to accommodate this, or you can ask for a keyboard tray to support your keyboard.
You should be able to type on your keyboard while your arms are at a 90-degree angle, with your elbows aligned your sides. It should also be tilted down and away from you. This lets your arms and hands to run parallel to the slope of your thighs.
Reposition Your Mouse
Your keyboard and your mouse should be positioned in a way that lets your hand rest in your lap.
Your mouse should be positioned where your elbows can run along your sides. You need that same 90-degree angle that you need with your keyboard. This reduces the muscle load while you type.
Make sure your mouse is shoulder-distance apart from your keyboard.
Reposition Your Monitor
Your monitor should be an arm's length from where you normally sit. You can check this by sitting in your natural posture, extending your arm, and ensuring that the tip of your middle finger touch your screen,
For those who work with two monitors, place them side by side. Don't leave any gap between them.
The first line of text on your monitor should be right at your eye level.
Fix Your Chair
Inspect your chair. Have any loose, damaged, or non-working components replaced or repaired.
If your seat cushion is flattened, use extra cushioning. This protects your low back and encourages blood flow.
Adjust Your Armrests
Remember that 90-degree angle we were talking about? You're going to need to adjust your armrest to accomplish that.
Position your armrests at a height and position that supports your arms as you use your keyboard and mouse. Rest your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
Adjust Your Seat and Backrest
First, you need to ensure that your chair is the right fit for your size and body shape. If you're squeezed in too tight, or you have too much room between you and your armrests, you need a chair that fits.
Then, in your natural posture, adjust your seat and your backrest in a way that allows you to sit all the way back into the chair. All while maintaining your elbows on your armrest and that 90-degree angle to your keyboard and mouse.
Adjust Your Chair Height
Your seat should be adjusted to the height of your desk.
At the right height, you'll feel very little pressure on your thighs and feet when your feet are flat on the floor and pointed forward.
The height of your seat is key to reducing lower back pain.
Benefits of Combining Standing with Sitting at Work
To reduce the pressure on your low back and encourage blood flow, you should alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes.
Some businesses recognize the benefits that ergonomics has on productivity, and will purchase Sit to Stand desks. These desks quickly convert from sitting- to standing-height without interrupting workflow.
Outfitting boardrooms with Sit to Stand tables allow for ergonomic meetings. When the boardroom isn't in use, these tables can fit a number of employees that are looking to stand more while they work.
Get Up and Move Around
Even after you've incorporated workspace ergonomics into your day, you still shouldn't be sitting there for the whole day.
Incorporate desk stretches into your day to get your blood flowing. Get up and do something for lunch. Not only will this reduce bacteria buildup at your desk it encourages socialization and movement.
Even going to the water cooler once and awhile can give your body a break and help maintain a healthy metabolism.
Whether you work from home or in an office, workspace ergonomics increases productivity and reduces the risk of developing chronic pain and cardiovascular problems. With a few simple adjustments, employees can be more comfortable while they work.
Employers can also be sure that they're doing the most for their employees well being, and their efficiency. Check out our selection of ergonomic workstations and seats to get your workspace on the right track.