This is an article in "Safety Alert Newsletter' from the Employee Services Agency at work, Santa Clara county. It is important for me as I am one of those who is in an office all day.
Taking Charge of Your Own Office Ergonomics
By Tristan Robledo
From time to time you may notice some discomfort while working at your desk, which is normal. When this occurs you shouldn’t ignore it; it’s your body’s way of telling you that it needs a little attention. Frequently, County employees ask me what is the best way to adjust their workstation, but adjusting your workstation alone isn’t enough. It’s up to you to make changes and adopt good work habits to keep you healthy and ache free at work. Here are some things you can do:
It’s your chair, adjust it properly. Try to maintain 90 to 110 degree angles at knees, hips, and elbows when seated.
Also, keep wrists and your back straight when seated and typing. Ask a co-worker to look at your seated posture and return the favor.
When using the mouse, learn to use your entire arm and shoulder. This action uses the larger muscles in your arm instead of overworking the smaller muscles and joints when simply using your wrist or elbow. Also, place the mouse close enough to your body so that you don’t have to straighten your arm to use it.
Stand up. Even if you can’t take a break or walk anywhere, stand up periodically throughout the day. Standing up at least once an hour will help improve blood circulation, reduce contact stress, and may help with aches and pains.
One simple way to help remind you to do this is by standing every time you use the phone. Another way to design this into your routine is by using a shared printer that you have to walk over to use. Also, instead of emailing or using the phone to discuss work, occasionally walk over and talk with a co-worker in person.
Take MICROBREAKS! Along with standing, at least once an hour, take time to stretch. Sitting in the same position causes you to overuse certain muscles. Pay attention to your body and perform some ergo stretches.
Common sore parts may include shoulder and back or even forearms and wrists. Don’t forget about your eyes, take 20 seconds to refocus your eyes on an object 20 feet away. This exercises the small muscles in your eyes and helps reduce eye strain. Breaking away from the monitor also increases blinking and will help reduce eye fatigue.
Vary your work. They are called Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) for a reason. When possible, try mixing up your tasks throughout the day and try not to do the same thing for too long.
You can find a stretching guide, ergonomic tips, presentations and other ergonomic resources