Your job is ruining your health! Well, if you work at a DESK anyway. Ellen Rader Smith is an occupational therapist and an expert in ergonomics – the science of designing equipment, usually for the workplace, that helps to reduce workers’ fatigue and discomfort. She says if your job involves sitting at a desk all day, having an ergonomically correct workspace can help prevent muscle aches, fatigue, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. So, here’s what you need to know, courtesy of Cooking Light magazine.
- Lighting: You can prevent eyestrain by putting a lamp on your desk, to help you read paperwork. The overhead lights just don’t cut it on their own. They create a glare that fatigues your eyes.
- Then there’s your computer monitor. It needs to be at eye level with the keyboard directly in front – rather than to the side. You shouldn’t have to turn your head at all to see the screen.
- And while we’re on the subject of your keyboard. It should be about the height of your elbows when you’re sitting down. This prevents strain on your shoulders, forearms and wrists.
- Your chair. Adjust the seat so your feet rest flat on the floor.
- Your computer mouse should be placed close to your keyboard. This’ll keep you from extending your arm too much, which can lead to neck, shoulder and wrist strain. If you’re already in pain, switch your mouse to your non-dominant hand. The Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute of Montreal asked hundreds of right-handed volunteers to control their mouse with their left hand for one month. After the month was up, the volunteers found they made much smaller movements with their shoulders, arms and wrists when controlling the mouse with their non-dominant hand. And it's these movements that lead to neck and upper back problems.