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What is Good Workstation Posture?

Calendar Tue, 22 Aug 2017Share

Many of us work in desk-based roles that requires constant sitting at our workstations for prolonged periods. The postures and practices a person adopts throughout the day can have a significant impact on their risk of developing computer-related health issues, such as pain, fatigue, stress and physical and visual discomfort. Setting up your workstation correctly is key to preventing these health issues. Here is a guideline to setting up a good work station:

Chair

  • Chair height – the knees should be at the same level (or just below) hip level, with feet fully supported on by the floor (or foot rest)
  • The back rest should be positioned to support the lumbar curve, which is at waist level.
  • Tilt the backrest so that you are in an upright seated position.
  • Tip: if your chair isn’t ergonomic (fitted with curves), you can add a lumbar support cushion/seat wedge to provide extra support to your back

 Desk

  • Adjust your desk height so that so your elbows are at 90⁰ right angles, when resting your hands on the desk top surface.
  • If your desk is at a fixed height and is too low (e.g. your thighs are touching the underside of the desk and the angle at your elbows is greater than 120⁰), then consider installing desk raisers in order to achieve the correct elbow angle.
  • If your desk is at a fixed height and is too high (e.g. your hands are above your elbows, with less than a 90⁰ angle), then the optimal elbow position can be achieved by raising the chair height and installing a foot rest to support the feet.

 Computer screen

  • Adjust the height of your computer screen, so that your eyes are level with the top of the screen. A common mistake is having the screen too low, causing us to slouch and roll our shoulders forward. This is our body’s way of compensating to get into the right position.
  • Position the screen about an arm’s length away from where you are seated and ensure that there is no glare on the computer screen from overhead lighting or nearby windows
  • Tip: if you don’t have a height adjustable screen, place some old phone books under the monitor to raise the height.

 Creating positive working habits

  • Maintain a good working posture by keeping your upper back and shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body. Maintaining the body in neutral positions while working reduces stress and strain on the musculoskeletal system.
  • Take regular micro breaks to hang our arms down by your side and give your hands a gentle shake for a few seconds to reduce tension and encourage circulation. Try doing this when there is a natural break in your work e.g. whilst reading or talking to someone. Aim to do this every 15 minutes.
  • Give your eyes a rest by looking away from the screen at distant objects. You could do this while you’re thinking or talking on the phone
  • Take all your tea and meal breaks away from your desk.

 

Prevention is the key to avoiding any computer related health issues. Our occupational therapists are available to complete workstation assessments at your office.   Ask your local Active+ clinic to get one of our Occupational Therapist’s to come out and see you.

-Amy Burr, Principal Physiotherapist, Active+ Counties Care