Office workplace guidelines

Many of us sit at a desk at one point in time, whether it is at work, or in the luxury of your own home. These sedentary postures can lead to neck, shoulder and also back pain, which i can guarantee each one of use have felt at one stage in our lives from sitting. This is a quick guide in which you can use in order to ensure you prevent or prolong unnecessary pain.

Chair

  1. Ensure you are sitting as far back in to your seat as possible

  2. Your thighs should be at approximately 90-100 degrees in relation to your hips

  3. Your back should be flat against the backrest of the chair to encourage a more neutral spine posture

    • Most office chairs come with low back support. if your chair does not offer you this support, try placing a small cushion or flattened towel in behind your back. Other external supports can be purchased for you chair if you do not find these work for you.

Feet position

  1. At rest, your feet should be flat on the floor.

    • If you find that you are forcing your feet to touch the floor or they do not touch the floor, you will require an adjustable foot stool to place underneath your feet.

Arm position and optimal working reach

  1. Your elbows should be bent to 90 degrees and shoulders completely relaxed

  2. Your arms are to be no more than 10 degrees in front of the body’s midline

  3. Arms should be supported at all times by either a desk or arm supports on a chair

  4. Your wrists and forearms should remain in a neutral position and have adequate support from the chair and/or table. If you require additional support, wrist supportive keyboards and mouse pads can be purchased.

Screen Position

  1. Your eyes should be in line with the top of the computer screen.

  2. You should have a maximum angle of sight of approximately 30-35 degrees from the horizontal of the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen without moving your head or neck.

  3. If you do not have an adjustable monitor, you can lift it by placing objects underneath it.

  4. The monitor should sit approximately at arms length

  5. If your setup includes dual monitors, there are a few factors which you should consider;

    1. Percentage of use of each monitor

    2. Type of work being performed and

    3. your dominant eye

  6. If you use each monitor 50/50 then the two inner sides of the monitor should be centred in front of your nose with each monitor slightly centred so they create a semi-circle around.

  7. if you use one monitor more than the other, place the primary screen directly infront of you as per above instructions. With the secondary monitor, slightly angle it towards you creating a semi circle.

Other Factors

Other factors that could affect your posture include;

  1. Room lighting

    1. If the lighting in the room is too low then you might find yourself squinting at the screen and subsequently moving your head and shoulders forward towards the screen.

    2. Furthermore if the lighting is too bright, a similar pattern may emerge, or you might find yourself moving to one side to avoid glare on the screen.

  2. Screen brightness

    1. Similar scenarios as per room lighting may occur.

    2. Both screen too bright or too low may effect your posture

  3. Colours used on the screen

    1. Use colours that are friendly to the eye and do make you squint.

    2. Avoid colours such as bright yellow as they are hard to stare at for long periods of time

  4. Telephone location, type of telephone used

    1. If you are a regular phone caller or phone answerer, position the phone where it is within arms reach and you do not have to lean forward.

    2. If you use a phone and the computer at the same time, consider a headset so you do not tilt your head to hold the phone

  5. Regular documentation storage

    1. If you use regular storage systems, ensure they are located within arms reach to ensure you are not constantly leaning forward

  6. Printer/fax location

    1. Ensure the printer/fax machine is located in another office or location to encourage movement and exercise

Standing Desk

  1. The set up of a standing desk involves the same factors as a sitting desk.

  2. Apply all the above methods to the standing desk

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