Everyday Ergonomics

Staying happy and healthy at work

by Mary Boland

Illustration by Terri Scott

Ergonomics is a science that helps determine how individuals will perform best, be most comfortable while working, and reduce injuries that may result, especially from repetitive motions. Whether your job involves sitting or standing for the majority of the day, ergonomics can help prevent health problems such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, carpal tunnel, and pain in the back, neck, and shoulders.

Here are a few simple tips anyone can put into practice.

If you have a sitting job:

  1. Sit straight.
    Make sure your chair gives you the proper lumbar support. You should be able to sit comfortably, with your back supported, while placing your feet flat on the ground or on a footrest.
  2. Relax wrists and arms.
    When typing on a computer, your arms should be close to your body and flat on your desk or the armrests on your chair. Keep your wrists straight or supported by a wrist rest.
  3. Center the screen.
    The position of your computer is important, too. Keep it centered and directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be just below eye level.
  4. Get moving.
    Take frequent breaks to stretch, walk around the office, and rest your eyes. A little movement goes a long way!

If you have a standing job:

  1. Be aligned.
    If you are using a standing desk, keep your legs, torso, neck, and head in a straight line.
  2. Keep your feet happy.
    Wear comfortable shoes with the proper support. Standing all day takes a toll on the feet and the rest of the body!
  3. Don’t reach.
    Keep all frequently used items close by. Stretching to pick up your phone, stapler or pen could cause pain in the back, neck and shoulders.
  4. Change it up.
    If there are tasks you can do while seated, use the opportunity to sit and rest. It is important to alternate between standing and sitting throughout the day.

Source: Mayoclinic.org

Download the Everyday Ergonomics flyer here

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