In the grand scheme of occupations, a desk job might not seem particularly hazardous to your health, but every year, office workers report back and neck pains, headaches, fatigue, and symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) to their employers and GPs.
The most effective way of preventing these work related injuries from developing is to take advantage of ergonomic office furniture.
Quite simply, it is designed with the specific needs of people who spend long hours at a desk in mind and can combat those troublesome aches and strains.
Sitting comfortably all day means finding the right chair. Perhaps more than any other piece of office furniture, a chair is the one thing you should never compromise on.
The general advice is that you should sit right back into the seat to benefit from the backrest and lumbar support, that your arms should sit comfortably on your desk with your elbows bent at a 90° angle, and your feet should sit flat on the floor with your knees also bent at 90°.
You can find more advice on the correct seating position in this handy leaflet produced by the Health and Safety Executive.
Although the height of an ergonomic chair is adjustable, a desk is less-so. If you’re quite short and can’t comfortably place your feet flat on the floor then you’re at risk of limiting your circulation. This can easily be remedied with a simple, ergonomic foot rest.
Similarly, if you’re quite tall and struggle to fit your knees comfortably underneath your desk, invest in one with an adjustable height or fit your existing one with desk risers.
When you’re happy that your desk and chair are comfortable, make sure anything you use frequently is in easy reach; stretching to pick up the phone, fish stationary out of a drawer or dig the next batch of work from your in-tray will all add unnecessary stress to your neck and shoulders.
Organise your desktop so everything is easily accessible. If you use a telephone often, get a headset which makes it easier to handle calls and access a PC at the same time.
If you do a lot of PC work, raise your screen to eye level. An LCD monitor stand is ideal, but if you work with a laptop you can still raise it with a purpose-built laptop stand and connect a USB or wireless keyboard and mouse for ease of use.
Take a Break:
No matter how good your furniture is, your body is not designed to sit still all day so get up every now and then and stretch those muscles.
While you’re at it, take a break from working to examine how you’re actually sitting. Lots of people reach the end of a working day complaining of aches and pains because they haven’t been using their ergonomic furniture properly; if you have bad habits, correct them now!
If you’re workplace is wearing you down, explore the range of ergonomic furniture solutions from leading supplier, Planscape and make your home or business office comfort-friendly.