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The Ergonomically Optimum Body Posture for Deskbound Workers

08 December 2022

If you work in an office and often use a computer, then chances are you have at some point complained about pain in different parts of your body. The pain is most likely from musculoskeletal disorders developed from several workplace hazards. It can severely hamper your ability to do meaningful work in the office or even enjoy other aspects of your life. It is, however, not a new thing, as workers in America and other parts of the world have been complaining of similar aches ever since computers and offices became inseparable.

As concerns over the injuries grew, experts sought ways to make office life easier for workers, particularly those often bound to the desks. Enter ergonomics, the science of tailoring the conditions of a workplace and the job itself so that they align with the nature and capability of workers.

Ever since ergonomics has only grown in prominence as more employers embrace the need to ensure employees work in conditions that promote our well-being. Some of the most common illnesses which ergonomics sought to eliminate include back pain which affects nearly 70% of workers in America. To make matters worse, back pain is linked to the development of disability for workers below 45 years; this means that if you are an office worker, you are at a higher risk of seriously hurting yourself if you're not careful. Although there are many causes for these kinds of injuries, such as repetitive motion and heavy lifting, poor posture is the most prominent.

Posture refers to the position our bodies take while seated, standing, and even lying down due to the influence of gravity. You constantly shift between different poses as you look for the most comfortable one as you work. It doesn't always work, and sometimes the posture we adopt could be doing us more harm than good, with serious injury and long-term disability a severe concern. All is not lost, however, since there are different ways to trade your poor posture habits for ones that will keep your body safe and ensure your productivity at work. The main thing you should look out for is slouching, which is the foremost culprit for injuries at your desk because it causes your body to deviate from its neutral posture. Sustained slouching can be devastating as your digestion can be compromised, causing abdominal issues or even lung capacity resulting in difficulty breathing.

Nevertheless, here are some guidelines for the most ergonomically optimum body posture if you are deskbound:

Maintain your joints, such as knees, hips, and ankles, at 90-degree angles or a little higher to avoid being in awkward angles for extended periods.

Additionally, put your knee joints level with or below the hip joints for less strain while ensuring the ankle joints are ahead of your knees. If your knees are higher than your hip, your office chair is too low, which can promote rounding of your spine and deprive it of its more natural curved form.

While sitting, ensure the back of your knees is at least three fingers away from the edge of the seat to minimize pressure on nerves in the region. Moreover, ensure your thighs are placed parallel to the floor, meaning they shouldn't be too low or too high such that your thigh muscles build up tension.

Ensure that your neck and head are placed upright. In addition, you should put them in line with your torso so that the shoulder and neck muscles are not strained from leaning forward or reclining too much.

Place your elbows and upper arms near your body so they are not stretched outwards. While you do this, ensure your upper body is perpendicular to the floor and fully supported by the seat. The importance of this position cannot be overstated because it provides the natural curve of your spine is maintained.

Still, while sitting, ensure your feet and legs are afforded enough clearance beneath the desk to reach your workstation easily. Being too far from the items and equipment in your workstation could be a significant factor in your need to take up awkward postures that can hurt you.

Ensure your shoulders are naturally placed to avoid lifting or dropping them, which makes your body take up awkward shapes or accumulate too much stress from not being relaxed.

Keep your wrists straight and aligned with your forearms, so they are not strained too much from poor positioning. Additionally, ensure they are placed on a flat surface while you type to avoid a buildup of tension which can cause severe injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Place your feet flat on the floor as it ensures your pelvis is balanced for more ease in curving your lower back. Refrain from crossing your legs; if you do, ensure they are alternated periodically so that no tension doesn't build up. Crossing the legs can be very harmful because it causes your peroneal nerve to be compressed, which can deprive sensation in the legs.

Aside from positioning your body, you can also adjust the position and placement of essential items in your workstation so that they don't force you into assuming awkward postures for the worst. From repositioning your monitor to being keen regarding your office chair, there is a lot you can do to make sure your office's workstation is tailored to your specifications. Here are some ways you can improve the ergonomics of your workplace:

Ergonomic desk

The desk is where you spend most of your time at the office, meaning you should pay great attention to it. If you don't already have one, you should get an ergonomic desk that caters to your needs; standing desks are the best option in this breadth. Standing desks are acclaimed for their ability to let you adjust the height in line with your preferences. Consequently, you can shift between sitting and standing while working for better health. You can also change the size according to your monitor level for less eye and neck strain while viewing. The adjustable height also means nearly anyone can comfortably use the desk. However, not all standing desks are made the same, and Flexispot has deliberately gone out of its way to give you ones that are a cut above the rest in terms of giving you the best working conditions. Visit the Flexispot website and take your pick among the many offerings.

Ergonomic chair

Unlike traditional office chairs, which prioritize class and prestige, modern ergonomic ones focus primarily on users' well-being. First, they are fitted with adjustable backrests that let you change the angle for optimum comfort while relieving pressure on the spine and sitting bones. The backrest reduces slouching by giving a surface on which to place your back upright. Ergonomic chairs also have lumbar support, which pushes your lower back slightly inward to ensure the spine's natural curve is maintained for a more neutral body position. They also have armrests that support the arms for a relaxed feeling while also keeping the elbows tucked in; headrests also ensure the neck is supported for less strain which can make it stiff with time. Ergonomic chairs also let you adjust the height for optimum comfort while sitting, which is convenient for shared workstations; the seat should also not be too long, which can press against your knees' back, causing discomfort. Adjusting the chair's height ensures the joints in your lower body are 90 degrees, and your feet can be comfortably placed flat on the floor or footrest.

Your ergonomic chair should also have a padded seat, reducing tension in your buttocks muscles. At the same time, a breathable mesh fabric will ensure sufficient air circulation across the body for decreased sweating. This being said, you should still try to stand more often because, despite the benefits of an ergonomic chair, there is no substitute for some good old physical exercise. Regardless, visit the Flexispot website for some great chairs that will undoubtedly improve your posture at work.

Monitor arm and laptop stand

As office workers, we often injure ourselves trying to see the screens of our computer devices. Use your monitor arm or laptop stand for optimal comfort and productivity to ensure the screen's top is at or just beneath eye level. You can see quickly without having to tilt your neck, strain your eye muscles or bend your head which all cause pain. If you use bifocals, adjust the height so you can see through their upper or lower side without awkwardly shifting position. Lastly, ensure the screen is at the correct distance from your eyes so that you don't have to lean, stretch forward or even strain your eyes looking.

Lighting and other ergonomic equipment

It may not be apparent at first, but proper lighting can ensure you are comfortable yet productive at work. You should use natural light whenever possible and as much as possible; however, place the screen at 90 degrees to the source for reduced glare. If that's not possible, lower the intensity of indoor light to avoid glare and avoid working directly under task lights. Finally, ensure the lighting at your workstation is even to avoid too much contrast. Lastly, incorporate other ergonomic items such as keyboards, mice, and footpads for a more optimal posture.

Ultimately, workplace ergonomics can take time to achieve entirely on your own. However, with some help from the guidelines above and innovative products from retail giant Flexispot, you can slowly but surely adopt the correct body posture for deskbound workers.