The average American adult spends 50-70% of his or her day sitting at work. Sitting and staring at computers might be how people make a living, but it’s tough on their bodies. Spending large periods of time in this position can negatively affect people’s health. Many companies are looking into ergonomics as a potential way to combat the dangers of sedentary office life.

What Is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics focuses on fitting the workplace to the worker, creating the ideal work environment. Ergonomic specialists apply many different fields to their research, including:

  • Anthropometry
  • Biomechanics
  • Mechanical and industrial engineering
  • Industrial and information design
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology

There are three main categories of ergonomics: physical ergonomics, cognitive ergonomics, and organizational ergonomics. Physical ergonomics focuses on the impact of physical activity on human anatomy and physiology. People who specialize in cognitive ergonomics study how mental processes impact interactions among humans, technology, and other elements. Organizational ergonomics focuses on more logistical aspects of the work environment. Ergonomics isn’t just sitting up straight; many ergonomic specialists are working to reduce the negative impacts of today’s work environment on a person’s overall quality of life.

Office Ergonomics Tips

While researchers look into more widespread methods for improving how our bodies live and work, you can make changes in your daily office tendencies to reduce the cognitive and physical damage that comes from poor ergonomics.

Support the Weight of Your Arms

If you do not support the weight of your arms, you will put unnecessary strain on your neck and shoulders.

Keep Your Head Sitting Straight Up

Do not let it hang or crane your neck to see your computer screen, as it strains your neck and can hurt your spinal cord over time.

Do Not Slouch

Many people have poor posture and will slouch at their desks, especially after having worked for hours. However, slouching puts excessive pressure on the discs and vertebrae of your back. Move your chair in as close to your desk as possible so you do not need to lean forward to see the screen. Use the back of your chair to keep your back straight while you are working.

Put the Screen Directly in Front of You

The top of the monitor should not be higher than eye level. Additionally, you should keep the keyboard directly in front of the monitor so you do not always need to turn your head and neck to work.

Hold the Phone up to Your Ear

Many people will trap the phone between their ear and shoulder to keep their hands free and complete other work, but it’s bad for your neck and shoulder.

Keep Your Mouse Close to the Keyboard

Always needing to reach to get to the mouse will put unnecessary strain on your shoulders and arms.

Do Not Keep the Computer Monitor Too Close to Your Face

Doing so will put a strain on your eyes. Your computer screen should sit at least an arm’s length away from your eyes. If you are having trouble seeing, it’s easy to make your font bigger.

Avoid Glare From Your Screen

Keep your computer from sitting in front of a window or bright background. It causes eye strain.

Give Your Eyes a Break

If you work long hours in front of a monitor, it is easy to let the day pass and end up spending hours staring at your screen. Rest your eyes periodically. Look away from the screen and at objects at a distance for several seconds.

Do Not Let Your Feet Dangle

Your feet should comfortably sit flat on the floor. If your legs are not long enough to reach the floor, get a footrest or lower your chair.

Keep these suggestions in mind, but do what you can do move away from the desk throughout the day. Your blood circulation needs some activity, and long hours at a desk can prevent your blood from moving.

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Spencer Eisenmenger
Helping Kansas City area medical malpractice, product liability, birth injury and personal injury clients.
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