How often do you find yourself craning your neck while sitting at your desk? Do you ever go home with a sore back after sitting for most of your workday? Chances are you’ve experienced some form of discomfort at your office workstation. It can be difficult to recognize the setup issues at your own desk, and many of us make a few common mistakes. Whatever your level of office ergonomics knowledge, it’s always good to think back to the basics. Take a moment to evaluate your habits based on these four common mistakes you may not have realized you were making:
You haven’t adjusted your chair properly.
Indeed, many people complain that their chair is uncomfortable when they aren’t even aware which adjustability features are available. If your office has a standardized chair, it was likely chosen because it has adjustments that would fit most people. Find out the name of your chair and search online for the adjustment guide. Adjustment options may include seat pan depth, back tilt, back tension, and lumbar support.
You’re sacrificing comfort to “sit up straight.”
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way; in fact, it’s better to recline in your chair as often as you can. Yes, you read that right. Lean back more often! You should always use the backrest to provide support for your body, but by reclining, you will also reduce the load on your low back.
Your keyboard height is wrong.
While typing or mousing, you should be working at elbow height. To test this, move back from your desk and remain seated. With your shoulders relaxed, let your arms fall to your sides. Keep your arms close to your torso and bend your forearms to create a right angle at your elbows; this is the correct typing height for you. Now, move your chair back in toward your desk. Is your keyboard really at elbow height?
Your monitor is in the wrong spot.
If you find yourself leaning forward at your desk, check your monitor location; it should be about an arm’s reach away from where you’re sitting while you type. In terms of height, make sure the top of the monitor is the same height as your eye level to encourage you to naturally look toward the center of your screen. This may vary slightly if you experience vision impairment or use bifocals.
Have you been making any of these common mistakes? Give yourself a week to adapt to these new practices and then compare how you feel!