"Work has been a real pain the ass lately. But it’s not for the reasons you might think. It’s my chair. Or maybe it’s the fact that I sit in it for eight hours a day.
If you spend any time at a computer (and who doesn't these days), then you need a lesson in ergonomics. Whether you are an occasional Internet surfer or a full-time desk jockey, you have probably felt a twinge in your wrist or throbbing in your lower back commonly associated with repetitive motion injuries and/or sitting for prolonged periods. Follow these helpful tips to enhance comfort and productivity and avoid injury.
Posture: Ensure you are sitting up straight in a position that keeps your spine in neutral alignment. Knees, elbows and hips should maintain 90 degree angles (or greater). If you are mindful of how you sit and find that your work station is preventing correct posture, read on.
Work Station: Take inventory of your working environment, starting with your chair. It should give you adequate support and allow you to make adjustments. Monitor, keyboard and mouse locations should allow for working close to the body while maintaining those 90 degree angles. Frequently used items (such as the telephone) should be in easy reach.
Lighting: Overhead lighting should be as natural as possible. Your monitor screen should be relatively free of glare (glare shields are an inexpensive alternative). Task lighting closer to your work should be comfortable on your eyes.
Breaks: Frequent breaks are really key. Every hour (at least), you should get up, move around and stretch. There is a great software program called RSIGuard (www.rsiguard.com) and among its many tools to reduce repetitive strain injuries is a feature called BreakTimer, which analyzes your work intensity and encourages stretching by demonstrating 31 stretches right on your screen.
Ergonomic Products: Once you have analyzed your work station and assessed your needs, you might consider some of these products if your budget allows:
Logitech Thumb Wheel Mouse — I had some very bad habits with my mouse and was unable to keep my wrist straight while mousing, so I started to get some wrist pain. After I picked up this product for just $39.99 at Staples, the problem was solved.
Kensington Expandable Articulat-ing Keyboard Platform — I love this product, which easily mounts right under your work surface. It allows for multiple adjustments and then tucks neatly away when you are not using it. $250 at Staples.
Plantronics Cordless Headset — I am a multi-tasker, and as such, frequently type while talking on the phone. Tucking the handset into the crook of my neck for several years caught up with me and gave me unrelenting pain in my neck and shoulder. This device was a life saver for me! There are various models available at Staples starting at $199.
Herman Miller Aeron Chair — this is currently on my wish list. Hailed as the holy grail of desk chairs, the Aeron’s PostureFit technology has become the gold standard in ergonomic seating. The mesh seating provides great support and allows air to pass through, keeping the sitter cool and comfortable while minimizing pressure. Retailing for $749 and up, it ain’t cheap, but can sometimes be found on Craigslist or eBay for much cheaper." (Continued via Ventura County Reporter)
[Ergonomics Resources] [Visit Ergonomics Store for products mentioned]