You are currently viewing Ergonomics in the Office
  • Post last modified:October 5, 2020
  • Post category:Insurance

It’s no secret that the modern workplace has gone digital. So many of us spend our days at work bent over our mobile devices or sitting at the computer desk. The nature of technology even allows us to take our work with us on flights, long car rides, or to the coffee shop down the road. However, lots of the habits that we adapt while working, especially while using technology, are dangerous to our health. The way that we move, sit, and stand on a regular basis all have direct impacts on our well-being and our professional performance.  That’s where the issue of ergonomics come into play. There are risks in everything from your tablet to your standing desk that you may not even know about! Today, we want to help you stay comfortable, safe, and more productive in the workplace.

Good Posture

Improving your wellbeing and feeling less sore is as simple as altering your posture. While on the computer, don’t bend your neck! Did you know that bending your head forward can put as much as 15 pounds of pressure on the spinal column? A sloped back and neck clearly have negative health effects on the spine. So make sure that you sit up straight and that all of your devices and screens are at a comfortable viewing angle. Things like talking on the phone or focusing on documents that are placed on your desk are already aggravating to your spine and muscles. Don’t let working on the computer become another large contributor to the issue.

Move Around

Sitting still all day has been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, and poor cholesterol. It’s even bad for circulation, as staying still for long periods of time reduces blood flow. Make sure to shift your weight and move your hands throughout the day. Most importantly, get up to stretch and move around often to give your body a break.

Ditch the Fads

Since it’s clearly not a good thing to sit all day, some people have decided to implement standing desks or exercise balls into their work day. However, these are not necessarily good alternatives. Exercise balls offer little support and it has been proven that after extended use, they can cause compression of the discs in the back. The standing desk also presents its own set of ergonomic challenges. Prolonged standing can be linked to reduced circulation and discomfort in the feet and lower back. If not properly adjusted, it can also lead to raised elbows, slumping shoulders, excessive leaning, or uncomfortable reaching. The classic office chair is honestly your best bet as long as you take ample breaks. It should also be ergonomic, which means it needs to have adjustable height settings, adjustable lumbar support, a seatback that is either locked upright or inclined at 110 degrees, an adjustable seat pan, and a five caster base. The only other reliable alternative is a sit-stand desk.

Pack Smart

It’s possible that you have a lot to bring into the office, like laptops, lunch, or even gym gear. First, it’s important that you choose the right bag. Two straps are always better than one. However if you must, a one single-strap cross-body style bag is the next best option. If you choose to carry a bag, keep it close to minimize stress on the spine. Rolling laptop cases are also an option as long as the wheels can glide over any surface. Make sure you are also choosy about what you put in this bag. Only bring the necessities, as a heavy tote can really mess with your neck. Don’t ever carry over 25 pounds, as each additional pound you carry adds three additional pounds of pressure to joints. When packing, don’t just throw everything in your bag either. Place the heavier items on the bottom and evenly distribute the rest of your things on top.

Mobile Office

It’s now very common to work on the go frequently. Although it’s convenient that you can now stay connected anywhere, there are two big problems with working in a car. The first is your inability to get up and move around. On long car rides make sure you take a break at a rest stop every two hours to stretch those sore muscles. The second issue is the poor fit. Too many people forget how important it is to adjust the car to fit their body. Changing the position of the chair for more leg room or a better angle for back support is crucial. The same goes for if you’re doing the driving!

Some Final Tips

  • Use an external mouse to keep your whole hand and arm moving.
  • Keep your laptop screen at or slightly below eye level with monitor risers or even books with a separate attachment for your keyboard and mouse.
  • Use an ironing board as a makeshift adjustable desk in hotel rooms.
  • If you wear heels often, adjust your desk chair to your height when in heels and have a footrest for the days you wear flats
  • If you have to type on a tablet screen, switch it up between placing it on a desk and holding it vertically and typing with your thumbs.

At Paradiso Insurance, we want you to stay healthy and happy, especially while you’re at hard work doing what you love. If you own a business and any of these ergonomic issues progress to more serious health issues for one of your employees, you could have a workers’ compensation claim on your hands. Make sure that you or your staff have addressed these ergonomic issues and you have great workers’ compensation insurance just in case! Make sure to spread these tips around the office to keep you, your employees, or your co-workers happier, healthier, and more productive. As always, Paradiso Insurance is happy that we can help you improve your business in any way that we can!