Friday 21 June 2019

Creating a comfortable work space - #WorkplacePosture

Despite having practiced yoga a few times since I was a teenager, and most recently throughout pregnancy, you’d think that I’d have better posture. Especially as when you have children you are always bending and lifting and carrying extra weight around - so having a strong posture is all the more important. Alas, in my case, my posture is appalling and even though I know the principles of sitting and lifting well, I’m just so bad at following them.

* Collaborative post

Anyone who works or had worked at a desk for their job will know how it can take its toll on your back and neck in particular, if you don’t set things up correctly and sit well. (As I'm sat here typing this, I am acutely aware of all the wrong things I am doing...!).

All work places should have a good health and safety procedure and provide support so you can have the support, quite literally, when sitting at your desk. Adaptable equipment, tables and chairs are a must. Even if you work from home, you’ve really got to take care of yourself and ensure you have a good working space.

Whenever I have moved jobs or desks, I’ve always done my best to set them up properly to make sure I am doing the right things to help my posture whilst I’m working.

Here’s a few tips from me on things to bear in mind when setting up your own desk space:

  • Your chair should be set at a height so your legs are bent at the knee at a 90 degree angle
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor (avoid crossing your legs or, like me, sitting with a foot tucked under you) or consider a foot rest under the desk to give your legs support if needed 
  • Your arms should be at a similar position, so your forearms aren’t raised up, as this can put extra stress on your shoulders, or the desk is too low, which will encourage you to stoop down, causing back pain
  • Your computer keyboard should be within reaching distance of your hands when you rest your arms on the desk, bent at the elbow by 90 degrees or so
  • If you ever suffer from wrist pain, a wrist support is worth picking up - or a mouse mat with an integrated wrist rest cushion
  • To make sure your neck is at a comfortable angle, your screen should be at eye level so you don’t have to look down - this puts strain on your neck and I find it really makes you feel like you need to hunch down over the keyboard
  • If working with a laptop, try using a wireless keyboard and mouse so you can elevate the screen on a stand then have the keyboard and mouse in a good position, so you aren't too hunched up but you're also not reaching out too far
  • Consider where you place your furniture and desk items, so everything is at a good height and within reach, if you need it to be
  • Choose a suitable chair that's going to be comfortable to sit at for some time and can be adjusted to suit your specific height
It's all too easy to get to your desk and just start typing or scribbling away, but you should always try to start your working day by making sure everything is set up well. And of course, do your best to sit up straight but also take regular breaks to give your eyes and body a rest. 

Some gentle stretches and flexes can help to relieve tension and get the blood flowing around again - and standing up has been proven to improve your concentration levels and creativity!

If you'd like to work on your posture more and find out how important it is when you're working to have a good environment around you, I'm sharing this infographic created by office chair providers Furniture At Work, from their #WorkplacePosture campaign:


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