Nothing is worse than back pain from sitting in an uncomfortable chair for eight hours a day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) were the most common type of workplace injury in 2019. Musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, strains, and back pain can all be caused by working in an office setup that is not ergonomic.
If you’re worried about creating an ergonomic office space, but don’t know where to start, we compiled a few best practices to support you (and your back)!
Choose Supportive Seating
First and foremost you should be choosing an ergonomic chair. As much as working on a beanbag or exercise ball is comfortable, it’s not necessarily good for your back. An ergonomic chair should have a lumbar curve to properly support your spine while seated. You can also buy lumbar support pillows if you don’t want to buy a whole new chair. A headrest should be used so you can relax your neck and shoulders. Ideally, when sitting in your chair, your feet should be flat on the floor.
You can also use a footrest and armrest to help support your posture. However, armrests should not be used while typing, as they can increase tension in your wrists. If you have shorter legs that don’t quite touch the floor, footrests can be beneficial for increasing blood circulation in your legs.
Get an Ergonomic Mouse and Keyboard
Supporting your wrists with a good ergonomic keyboard and mouse setup is a great way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, a musculoskeletal disorder of the wrists. Ergonomic keyboards should be curved for optimal wrist support. There are also split ergonomic keyboards that are considered best for wrist support. If you’re on a budget, you can get a gel or foam keyboard wrist pad as a substitute.
Ergonomic mice are also a great option for wrist support. An ergonomic mouse has an indentation for resting your thumb and is curved so your hand “cups” it. This puts your hand in a “handshake” position rather than flat on top of the mouse, which provides more muscular support to your arms and wrists.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
Nobody wants to end up looking like Gollum because they were hunched over at their desk for years. Here are a few best practices for optimal posture:
- Sit up straight and avoid slouching in your chair
- Your hips should be above your knees
- Keep your thighs parallel to the floor
- Bend your arms and legs at 90 degrees
- Place your feet flat on the floor while sitting
- Your keyboard should sit just below your elbow level
Other Ergonomic Tips
Keep all of your necessary items within arm’s reach on your desk so you don’t have to stretch for them. Consider getting a sit-stand desk so you can alternate between the two to stretch your legs during the day. If you use a phone regularly, use a headset rather than holding the phone to your ear for long periods.
When using a computer, make sure to take regular breaks and look at something in the distance (approximately 20 feet away) to prevent eye fatigue. Take regular breaks to walk around for a minute or two to keep the blood flowing to your legs.
Check Out Our Office Spaces!
Want to personalize your own ergonomic office space? Try out one of our customizable Private Offices today and receive access to:
- Make-it-your-own office space
- Friendly and professional on-site receptionist
- Premier address, mail, and package handling
- Free Wi-Fi with option to upgrade to higher speed packages and wired connection.
- 15 hours of meeting room use per month included in membership
- Free local coffee, tea, and spa water
- Access to all building amenities