Ergonomics is about the efficiency and comfort in your workspace. The more comfortable you are at work, the better your productivity and better health in the long run… Most ergonomic problems or common type of pains can be fixed by rearranging or modifying existing furniture.
Your back and your chair
Scientific reports have proven that long periods of sitting can have negative consequences for our health. However, sitting can hardly be avoided at work. It is important that your office chair is set-up to provide optimal support for your back.
Sit up straight on your chair, roll your shoulders up and back and allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides. If both of your feet are firmly on the ground, that is ideal. If not, you should use a footrest to make sure your back can be supported by the chair back while you sit. Make sure there’s a space of 2-3 fingers in between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat, otherwise it’s bad for your blood circulation.
No chair, no matter how well it is set-up can prevent you from slouching unless you proactively sit with correct posture. The key is your spine should remain lifted, with your shoulders rounded back and relaxed. A good ergonomic chair usually comes with a very good lumbar support system.
While you are typing, it is a common mistake to have your elbows placed on the arms of the chairs. That will only increase the pressure on your elbows and your shoulders. It’s recommended that you should keep your elbows as closely to your body as possible while keeping your shoulders relaxed.
To keep your monitor at eye level can be key to avoiding neck and shoulder pain. You can use a monitor arm or monitor stand to raise your monitor’s height. As long as you can clearly view the screen contents without leaning forward your body then that’s a good distance between yourself and the monitor.
Standing desks can only be beneficial to you if you are using it correctly. It is recommended you switch between standing and sitting throughout your workdays to reap those benefits. Standing for too long can also hurt your leg muscles, tendons and connecting tissues. Consider using an anti-fatigue mat if you stand for long periods. It will help take pressure off your feet.
As with sitting, keep your elbow at 90 degrees and roll back your shoulders. Avoid leaning forward and make sure you stand straight to maintain your posture. If you are using a laptop, you may consider porting it to a regular monitor.
Other things to consider:
Ensure your wrists are straight or use a wrist arm support/rest if necessary. Remember to position the mouse close to the keyboard, so that both elbows are directly under the shoulders while working. Use a phone headset if you use the phone a lot while you look at your monitor, this will help avoid neck and shoulder strain.
Having ample lighting is also very important to keep your spirit high during the day. Also remember the 20-20-20 rule: look away from the monitor every 20 minutes to a distance of 20 meters for 20 seconds. This helps avoid eye strain.
Finally and very importantly, remember to take breaks regularly preferably every 45 minutes to an hour for 1 or 2 minutes. Go get a glass of water or talk to a colleague etc.