How to avoid Strain and Tension at the office

STEP ONE - Your Chair

Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair. Adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips. Make sure your upper and lower back are supported.
Use inflatable cushions or small pillows if necessary. If you have an active back mechanism on your chair, use it to make frequent position changes. Adjust the armrests (if fitted) so that your shoulders are relaxed. If your armrests are in the way, remove them.

STEP TWO - Desk & Keyboard

An articulating keyboard tray can provide optimal positioning of input devices. However, it should accommodate the mouse, enable leg clearance, and have an adjustable height and tilt mechanism. Position the keyboard directly in front of your body. Determine what section of the keyboard you use most frequently, and readjust the keyboard so that section is centred with your body. Adjust the keyboard height so that your shoulders are relaxed, and your wrists and hands are straight. The tilt of your keyboard is dependent upon your sitting position. Use the keyboard tray mechanism, or keyboard feet, to adjust the tilt. Wristrests can help to maintain neutral postures and pad hard surfaces. However, the wristrest should only be used to rest the palms of the hands between keystrokes. Resting on the wristrest while typing is not recommended.
Avoid using excessively wide wristrests, or wristrests that are higher than the space bar of your keyboard. If you do not have a fully adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to adjust your workstation height, the height of your chair, or use a seat cushion to get into a comfortable position. Remember to use a footrest if your feet dangle.

STEP THREE - Screen & Telephone

Incorrect positioning of the screen can result in awkward postures. Adjust the screen so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position. Centre the screen directly in front of you, above your keyboard. Position the top of the screen approximately 2-3” above seated eye level. Sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision. Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help. Use headsets and speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.

STEP FOUR - Pauses & Breaks

Once you have correctly set up your computer workstation use good work habits. No matter how perfect the environment, prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks. Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.

Courtney Barrer – Remedial Therapist