Staying comfy with office ergonomics

Published: Wednesday 13th January 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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January means that everyone’s back at work, college or university, which often requires sitting at a computer workstation or a study desk for hours on end. Whilst typing on a keyboard and checking emails may not seem strenuous, the posture of your body plays a large part in your flexibility, circulation and overall physical health. To ensure that you remain happy and healthy in an office or learning environment, we’ve put together some tips on ergonomics. Follow these daily and you’ll find that aching joints and tired eyes become a thing of the past.


Chair angle and height

The positions of your muscles and skeleton are dependent on the way you sit. The first thing to do is to make sure you have a comfy chair that also allows you to remain upright. Next, adjust the height of the seat so that the keyboard and mouse are at elbow level and your wrists are completely flat whilst typing, and the angle of the backrest so that it’s between 100 and 110 degrees if possible. This will help you to work with maximum comfort.


Back to back

Perching on your chair will only cause discomfort that can lead to aches and sprains. Instead, push your lower body to the back of the chair so that your spine is supported at all times.


Cushion your desk

If your wrists are against a hard surface and it becomes uncomfortable, it could be worth buying a cushioned rest specially designed for keyboard users. These products come with gripped undersides so that they don’t slip around.


Adjust the screen

Adjust the screen physically so that you’re looking straight ahead instead of angling your neck up or down, and also adjust its settings so that the brightness and contrast are easy on your eyes. For safety reasons, your head should be 20-40 inches from the screen at all times, otherwise eyestrain may occur.


Take a break

Try to stand up and stretch your legs every 20-30 minutes. If you’re on a roll and don’t want your productivity levels to decrease, spend this time doing something else important, like getting a glass of water, visiting the toilet, or checking HEY Today for news and reviews.


The 20-20-20 Rule 

This may sound like a silly one but it’s been proven that we generally blink less whilst looking at a screen, which can cause the eyes to become dry, tired and irritated. The easiest way to counteract this is through the 20-20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eye muscles a break. This can work in perfect harmony with stretching your legs, so schedule in brief resting periods throughout the day.


Keep things in easy reach 

Although we’ve recommended taking breaks and moving away from the desk on a regular basis, it’s also important that you keep peripheral items close at hand. This could be anything required during your work, such as documents, stationery, your phone or a beverage. The reason for this is that craning your neck and leaning over a lot to reach something can lead to twinges in unsuspecting muscles.



These can cause problems because of their ability to be used anywhere, such as sofas, beanbags and even in bed. You should still try to follow the rules above, and if you can position the screen so that it’s at eye level and not too close you’ll achieve the optimum laptop position.


Do you have anything to add? Tweet your advice to @HEYTodayNews.

Published: Wednesday 13th January 2016 by Rich Sutherland

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