Is your office set up correctly for you?
Are you guilty of sitting at your desk, glued to your chair while working for hours on end? While, hour after hour, your back and neck get tighter and more comfortable. My question for you is; your office set up correctly for you?
In fact, were there considerations to placement to your chair, desk, monitor?
Further, as we age, there is often degenerate in our back and neck. As a result, we end up with arthritis, bulging, herniated discs, and the pain often radiates to other areas. Anyone who has suffered from these conditions can attest it isn’t very pleasant. It can be downright miserable! Pain and your work environment can go hand-in-hand.
Chronic pain is common in office workers is increasing
Most people think that an on-the-job injury involves heavy lifting. However, sitting at a desk for hours and poor posture can create and increase pain symptoms.
In general, after dealing with the pandemic, people have admitted to sitting more than pre-pandemic. Further, day after day of this type of inactivity, it gets worse, and to the point, it isn’t easy to concentrate. You can often become irritable and have trouble sleeping.
Let’s look at the science behind what a wrong setup office will do to you.
According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) article, many people who work in an office experience physical pain regularly.
AOA reports that 3 in 10 office workers lost two/more hours a month because of work-related pain. Consequently, The Institute of Medicine equals an annual cost of $297 in low productivity.
A study in the National Library of Medicine found that musculoskeletal disorders were the most prevalent among office workers. Further, they studied ergonomic modifications interventions and increased daily movement, resulting in lower back pain.
Looking at this person working from a coffee table, twisting and bending to work, it hurts my back and neck just looking at it.
Office workers face specific challenges that often cause neck and back pain. A poor workspace design and sitting for long periods can cause and increase pain symptoms.
Workers have to take more and more time off to manage chronic pain. Suffering from that kind of discomfort interferes and impedes people’s ability to have a good night’s rest. It also affects their mood, and lowers productivity.
What you can do
Redesigning your workspace can alleviate the stress on our bodies. Creating an “ergonomic” office design is often suggested. Ergonomic design creates a human-centered design that focuses on harmony. A useable workspace and provides comfort and functionality.
Creating an ergonomic work area requires the correct placement of chairs, desks, and computer equipment. There is a multitude of ways to create a productive home office, but let’s discuss further the three mentioned:
- Office chair: should support the curve of the back and at a height that feet sit flat on the floor. Forearms should rest comfortably on the armrest allowing shoulders to be relaxed and not hunched forward. Consider starting with replacement of your office chair with one that is ergonomic designed to support the body and allows for all day comfort, and prevents lower back pain.
- Desk: I love desks that accommodate a sit-stand position throughout the day. There is evidence that you burn more calories standing. Consider, an adjustable desk that allows you to mix up your day and still be productive while standing. However, the more important health benefits of standing are avoiding the risks of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and thrombosis.
- Location of workspace: Have a dedicated space allows for more focus, more productivity. Personally, I need a space where I can concentrate without distractions. Depending on your job, you may need a place that offers the opportunity to take calls, attend video meetings and get work done without interruptions.
- Adjust lighting: If you suffer with headaches or vision problems during the day, adjust your lighting can help. In fact, add a sun lamp especially in the winter months. Light therapy helps with mood, depression, and sleep issues.
- Tweak the temperature: ambient temperature can have a significant influence on productivity and how you think. Warmer – better for creative thinking. Cooler-keeps people alert and help with repetitive tasks.
- Alter work hours: If you suffer from chronic pain, it is best to adjust hours when pain levels are lower. In addition, get to know what times of day you are most productive can help when you need to work intensely. For example, I think and am more productive 8 AM – 2 PM better. I usually do mundane tasks in the latter part of the day.
- Get up and move: improve your mental and physical health by moving throughout the day. Studies have shown that people who move throughout the day are happier and less stressed. More importantly, people who frequently move burn more calories and live longer.
- Consider working from home: there are plenty of reasons to consider telecommuting. You save money, time and probably feel less stressed if you work from home. Also, you will have control over your work environment; you should surround yourself with items that help you keep focused. For example, a painting, paint color, or adding a door for privacy. Some people also prefer quiet while working while others enjoy chaos.
Read my article on Back Pain and Poor Posture for more information on why you suffer from:
- Muscle tightness
- Stiffness of back or neck
- Muscle spasm
- Muscle ache
- Pain gets worse with activity