Please note, there is no absolute right or wrong way in the way that you sit. Your body is designed to adapt in many different positions and even rigit guidelines are not to be followed to a T.
If you follow the instructions on posters of the ideal sitting position and you manage to sit in that position for 8 hours, you will still get achy. Moving around, standing, then sitting, maybe even slouching for a little bit is not the end of the world, it is ok, as long as you have a rough idea what the most energy efficient way is.
These are really tough times that have affected all of us. Now, it's more important than ever to understand how to set up your workplace correctly.
Spending time in isolation takes away our first aid help which is face to face assistance. Therefore, prevention is mainly what every healthcare practitioner can offer as a first step.
Like others I have tried to help my patients online, through phone calls, emails and video calls.
Most of us are still working -from home- but unfortunately if you haven't set up your home office, you are probably experiencing aches and pains due to the lack of support, improper adjustments and lack of mobility.
Sure, it may have hurt when you were at work as well, but a lot of people get support from their companies when in need-new chair, standing desk, ergonomic advisors.
At the moment all that is temporarily on hold, which means you need to understand how to set it up yourself.
This blog is here to aid you with a few simple steps:
1. Desk Height:
Make sure when your forearms are resting on the desk, your shoulders aren't pushed up.
Ideally the angle between the your arm and your forearm (elbow) should be 90 degrees- roughly.
2. Screen Height:
Don't rush to get your screen higher.
If you are working with a desktop-then great. It is very easy to change the height of the screen. You should aim for the top toolbar of the screen to be at your eye level.
If you are working on a laptop, I would recommend that you get a separate keyboard, so you can separate the screen for your typing space.
Again, your aim is for the top tool bar to be at eye level.
Chair and Sitting position:
Sit comfortably all the way back into your chair and let your back relax on the backrest.
Bring your chair as close to the desk as you can- where your tummy almost touches the desk.
This way you will avoid leaning forward and slouching for a long period of time.
If your chair has armrests which are adjustable, try and lower them so the fit under your desk.
In this position you can utilise the back of your chair and relax in a relatively upright position without having to think about it all the time, get frustrated and not concentrate on your work.
Mouse and Mouse Pad:
If you are using one, I always recommend a mouse pad, which gives you a clear border of your working area.
If you don't have one, it is easy to drift away and lean without realising.
How far in? I usually recommend that roughly half of your forearm should be resting on the table. If you are close to the desk edge, then you risk your wrist to be extended and getting some discomfort.
Two screens (or more!):
What then? If you are using both screens the same then I recommend setting them side by side and slightly tilting them towards you.
This way you minimise neck rotation if one screen is far away from the other.
If you are using one screen 80% and the other 20%, I would prioritise that you set the first one in the centre and the other next to it.
So here you have it. These are some basic guidelines of what to look for when you are sitting at a new desk, at home, at a cafe.
I hope this is a helpful page for all the people that are struggling with ergonomics and want some help.
Stay inside, stay safe and see you soon!