Office jobs are highly demanding, not just mentally, but physically as well. Physically, you ask? You’re sitting down all day! How on earth is that physically demanding? If you don't know the best ways to position your equipment and body while at work, it's possible you're putting your body through incredible amounts of physical strain. Back aches, neck pain, headaches, wrist sensitivity: All of these are symptoms that can be greatly reduced or even stopped with correct office habits. You are already restless enough during your long office shifts, so find out how to make your work environment as comfortable and as healthy as possible.
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First, it's important to adjust your chair to the correct height. You want your elbows to bend at a ninety degree angle, your arms aligned with your desk or the top of the keyboard tray. If you don't have an adjustable chair, the investment may be worth mentioning to your boss.
Many office chairs have terrible back support, causing your back to curve in like a turtle’s shell. Get some back support with a pillow or other type of cushion that keeps your spine completely straight while you sit.
Now, if you're looking for a way to maintain outstanding posture (and maybe get a little core workout in) while you work, switch out your chair for an exercise ball. Your core will work almost unconsciously to keep you upright, not to mention the long-term benefits of not sinking into a bad back rest. Depending on your hours, of course, you may only want to use it for part of the day. Check out the Ergo Ball Chair for a comfortable, healthier office chair options. Sure, your coworkers might make a few "comments" about your new seat. Don't mind them. Who’s the one going home one step closer to a six pack?
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You computer screen needs to be big enough not to have to strain your eyes or lean forward to see it. Many office jobs require you to spend large chunks of time in front of your screen. If yours is not big enough, don't be afraid to address the issue with your boss. Your future vision is something you should be concerned about.
The screen also needs to be at eye level. Many computer screens are set directly on the desk which forces you to look down at it. Remember, you want your spine--so from your bottom to the top of your neck--to remain completely straight. How do you fix the problem? Get a taller desk? The answer is so easy you won’t even believe it. Place the screen on top of a small platform – a box, tray, file, anything that gets the screen to eye level.
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Your keyboard needs to be at a height that allows your forearms to be completely straight so your wrists aren't bent awkwardly. This is best accomplished with a pullout keyboard tray, though a desk top will do if your chair is height-adjustable.
Get a cushioned wrist rest to better protect your wrists from awkward angles. Your keyboard will be at least slightly higher than the tray or desk, so the wrist rest will keep your forearms straight and your wrists comfortable.
Try out an ergonomic keyboard. These keyboards are specially formed to fit the natural positioning of your hands. This should lessen the amount of strain even further.
We all know that sitting for long periods of time does not feel good, but did you know that it's actually poor for your health? In their article “Sitting At Work: Why It's Dangerous And What You Can Do”, the Huffington Post explain the dangers of long-term sitting. According to their findings, "emerging research shows that sitting for long periods of time contributes to risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke risk and overall death risk, among others.”
The article further mentions that experts recommend sitting and standing at the office in a 50:50 ratio. However, this is not always possible. Instead, try taking ten minutes every hour to walk or stand as a break from all the sitting. If that too isn't realistic, take your work on the walk or stand while you do it. Your body will appreciate the variety.
Eating out for lunch can be a common thing in an office setting. You might feel left out if you don’t join in, but your body will feel even worse after the weeks of regular fast food intake. I bet your wallet will be feeling the pain too. Bringing healthier lunches to work isn't just healthier; it's a money-saver. Remember to bring foods rich in protein and complex carbohydrates. Then get a group of coworkers to join in on this healthy spree. Who knows? Your friendships may just grow, starting with your coworkers’ new gratitude for the suggestion.
Office life may not be the most comfortable of environments, but with these tips, you can put your body at ease. Being in the wrong positions is dangerous to your health, so make the simple changes and feel the difference.