back pain_ergonomicsAre you spending too much time at your desk?  Is your body paying for it in the form of eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, or neck and back pain?  Are you or your employees experiencing decreased productivity as a result?

There are a number of simple things that you can do.

First, limit the time you spend in one position.  It is recommended that desk workers get up out of their chair and move around every 30 minutes.  Even something as simple as walking around your desk stimulates your muscles and helps you restore good alignment when you return to sitting.  Better yet, take 30-60 seconds to stretch out those tight muscles.  Do you get so involved in your work that hours have passed before you realize it?  If so, then set an audible timer on your desktop or phone.

Second, take advantage of scheduled lunch breaks and meetings.  Consider walking during your lunch break or doing an extra lap around the office on your way to meetings or the printer.  If you have stairs available in or near your office, take them instead of using the elevator.

Third, think about ergonomics.  Ergonomics is defined as the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.

carpal tunnelWork surfaces and furnishing should be ergonomically appropriate for the user.  All areas where activities occur, particularly those that are repetitive, should be designed for task performance to minimize fatigue and repetitive stress and strain by fitting the body size, strength, and range of motion of the user.

Office furnishings, which are generally available, have adjustable components that enable the user to modify the workstation to accommodate different physical dimensions and the requirements of the job.  Your office desk, office chair, keyboard, mouse, and monitor should be placed and adjusted so as to maximize efficient posture and use.  In addition to the standard office furniture, there many interesting products available to help modify your workstation.  Here is a sampling to get you thinking outside the box.

Extensions can be mounted onto an existing arm rest.  An extended arm rest will allow you to support your entire forearm and place the mouse closer to your body.  By not having to reach forward onto the desk to use the mouse, you can maintain a more upright posture.

The Walkstation by a company called Steelcase is a desk and treadmill combined.  The Walkstation allows you to walk at a slow pace to keep your muscles actively engaged throughout the day.  A similar concept is a high/low or adjustable desk.  This type of desk allows the user to alternate between a sitting and standing position throughout the work day.  With the click of a button, the entire desktop is able to raise or lower so that the user can alternate between a sitting and standing position throughout the day.

Do you have a tendency to slouch forward regardless of how well your desk and chair are arranged and adjusted?  Do you simply have bad habits?  The Lumo Lift is a small device that is worn on your clothing just under your collar bone.  It can be programmed to vibrate as a reminder when you are out of appropriate posture for a predetermined period of time.  The software app allows you to monitor how long you were able to maintain good posture while sitting and standing throughout your day.  As an added benefit, the Lumo Lift will track your steps while you are in movement.  As an aside, did you know 10,000 steps per day is the recommended minimum?

These and many more products are available to help you improve productivity by reducing the physical stress of prolonged sitting at your desk.   The Streamlined Office can provide onsite ergonomic assessments and recommendations.