As sunshine and warmer weather creep closer and closer, you may find yourself staring out your office window longing to embark on a summer adventure. Unless you have stocked up on vacation days, the outdoor activities will have to wait at least a few hours. As you bring your attention back to the tasks at hand, take a minute to think about the setup of your space, keeping the principles of ergonomics in mind.
Ergonomics is the study of the kind of work you do, the environment you work in, and the tools you use to do your job. By ensuring that your office space is set up ergonomically, you can reduce neck and back pain and be less likely to suffer from headaches or eyestrain.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when evaluating your office space.
Select the right tools
Arrange your tools so you can work in a position that does not put stress on any specific area of your body. You should be able to organize your work in a way that allows you to minimize the need to look up or to the sides continually.
Select a desk or work surface that is not shiny and is large enough to accommodate everything you need. It should be arranged properly so you can access all items easily. Keep the desk at a height that allows enough space for your knees and thighs to comfortably fit under the desk.
To accompany the desk, choose a supportive chair that is adjustable, so you can set your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your feet supported on the floor will help reduce pressure on your lower back.
Besides using the right tools, other steps can be taken to decrease the risk of office injury. Some movements within the office space can be hazardous. Make sure that you turn your whole body when you need to shift your attention or grab something. Additionally, changing your position often will help decrease stiffness. Another useful measure to take is a stretching break. Get out of your chair every 20 to 40 minutes. If you can, switch to another task.
Treat office-related injuries
If an office injury does occur, home treatment may be all that is necessary for recovery. Make sure to adequately rest the painful area and avoid additional activities that make the pain worse. To reduce any pain and/or swelling, apply ice to the area. When there is no swelling, apply heat, if possible. This may take a few days after the initial injury. After several days, if your injury has not improved, call your health care provider.
Keeping these ergonomic principles in mind during the work day will ensure that you are in the best condition to take on your favorite summer activities.
For more information regarding ways to prevent injuries at the office, check out this helpful article.