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Fully functional findings: 5 tips for making your workplace work for you

Afraid your office isn't the healthiest of environments? A few design changes can help change that.

You might be surprised to find out that office based roles are some of the riskiest. No, really. The amount of time that office workers spend sitting down has a huge impact on their general health and doctors are only just starting to understand the link. Sedentary jobs are responsible for rises in everything from heart disease to obesity, diabetes, strokes, and cardiovascular dysfunction. So, if you work in an office or spend a lot of your day sitting down, you might need to make some important changes for the sake of your health.

Ergonomics is the study of efficiency in the workplace, but it can be used to help employees develop safer habits. For example, maintaining a healthy posture is one way to negate the effects of sedentary routines. Most of us naturally slump when we sit down, but this puts tremendous pressure on the lower spine.

Here are some ways to stay healthy at the office – which will pay off in the long run.

Raise your monitor

The addition of a sturdy, ergonomic laptop stand is a simple way to improve your working conditions. It holds the computer screen in place, at a specific height, so that you don’t strain your neck or eyes while using it. To find the perfect position, sit back and extend your arm. The tip of your middle finger should just reach the monitor. Dual monitors require a two-armed stand, which holds both screens steady. Make sure that the top of each one lines up with your gaze.

Find that sweet posture

Maintaining a healthy, aligned posture can be tricky at first, especially if you’ve spent a long time slouching and slumping at your desk. It might feel unnatural, but it will work wonders for your general health. Your feet should be flat on the floor without having to stretch them. You don’t have to sit poker straight, but avoid falling down into the seat because it creates that heavy ‘S’ shape in the spine which increases pressure and leads to chronic pain.

Position your keyboard

To support healthy posture, position your keyboard and mouse so that your elbows can rest comfortably by your sides. Your arms should be bent at a ninety-degree angle. This lowers the level of pressure on muscles and ensures that you don’t have to stretch or strain. If possible, the keyboard should be tilted ever so slightly, at a distance of around 1-2 inches above your thighs. Keep the mouse and keyboard shoulder width apart. 

Adjust your chair

The way that you sit has a big impact on how well your body functions, even though it seems like such a trivial process. It is really important to have a high-quality chair, preferably with some form of lumbar support. It needs to relieve the pressure on your spine and bottom. When sitting, there should only be a tiny amount of space between the front of the seat and your knees. Sit with your tailbone protruding just a little and your spine resting in the gentlest curve.  

Get out of your seat

The thing to remember is that ergonomics is designed to make the best of an ‘unnatural’ situation. The human body wasn’t built to sit slumped in front of a computer screen for hours at a time. However, it is the nature of modern employment for many, and it cannot be avoided. What you can do, alongside maintaining a healthy posture, is get up on your feet. It doesn’t matter whether it’s just a trip to the water cooler; getting out of the chair is good for you.