Whether you work from home or in a serviced office
, the associated effects of computer use are increasing. Whether it is back pain, wrist pain, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in the upper part of the body, or sore necks, starring at a monitor for 8 hours a day can lead to strained eyesight and stress long-term.
RSI is an injury to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be caused by “repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, mechanical compression, and sustained or awkward positions”
With looming deadlines and pressures, health can often be an afterthought for working professionals. However, there are a number of simple things you can do during your working day to reduce the impact of extended computer use and to help manage subsequent bodily strain.
Since the main cause of RSI is extended monitor use, hardworking individuals need to make sure they find time in their day to take a break from their screens. Studies show that walking away from your workstation at regular intervals throughout the day can boosts productivity. One of the best ways to ensure you get a break is to use an alarm clock and set it regularly. Alternatively, if this feels too invasive for a shared workspace setting, there is software like Workrave
available, that will send discreet reminders to your computer.
Ensure your keyboard, monitor and mouse are in the proper position when you are seated at your desk. It’s recommended to always have your monitor below eye-level and about one arm’s length away to prevent strain on your eyes. Additionally, use both of your hands rather than one when typing.
Likewise, if you have an adjustable chair, adjust it before starting work. To make your set-up more ergonomic, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are equal to, or slightly lower than, your hips. If you cannot adjust your chair, you can always add cushions to achieve this posture.
Have you given much attention to the keyboard you have at your workstation? The design and layout of the keys may be causing wrist strain.
Developed for typewriters in the 1860’s, the Qwerty keyboard was designed to avoid typewriters from becoming jammed. Due to this, you may find that when you type a word, you are often going from one side of the keyboard to another.
To avoid superfluous strain on your hands, consider using a less well-known keyboard, such as the Dvorak keyboard
. Furthermore, make sure that both your keyboard and mouse are positioned close enough to you that you are not repeatedly reaching to use them; your forearms should be parallel so that your elbows can hang comfortably at the side of your body.
4. Do some desk exercises
Integrating some simple desk stretches
into your working day can be a useful exercise for your mind and body. Combined with regular exercise, desk exercise can be a great way to stretch out your work-weary muscles and get blood and endorphins running.
5. Use proper lighting
Working in a dimly lit environment can put as much strain on your eyes as working in a harshly lit environment. When adjusting the brightness of your monitor, ensure that it corresponds to the intensity of your lighting in the room. This will keep you from straining your eyes to see the screen. When using a lighting source or lamp, always make sure to have it behind you.
6. Warm up
Before sitting down to work every morning, it can be helpful to do a little warm-up. Stretch your arms, shoulders and wrists before sitting down to your desk. Do this for about 5 minutes, and it will help condition your body for sedentary work for the remainder of the day.
7. Lay back on the coffee
Coffee is credited with fuelling millions of office worker’s morning every day. Although the caffeine can give you a welcome boost, like many things in life, too much is not a good thing. Instead of reaching for a second cup of java, why don’t you try and replace a couple of your daily cups with a decaffeinated alternative or even a refreshing herbal tea.Your body will thank you and you may even find that the switch improves your quality of sleep.
8. Deep breathing
During a busy day in the office, it is likely that you’ve forgotten to pay attention to your breathing. On one of your regular daily breaks, make sure to spend some time getting some fresh air and practicing some mindful deep breathing. Inhaling and exhaling deeply for one- minute increments will bring fresh oxygen into your lungs and help you reduce stress.
9. Drink plenty of water
Did you know that dehydration effectively causes your brain to shrink
? Make sure to visit your water cooler throughout the day to ensure you are properly hydrated. So long as you are steadily sipping away, you can avoid the cognitive impact that comes with a lack of fluids.
10. Eat a nutritious lunch
We all know that fuelling yourself properly with food is an important component of staying healthy. Although it may be tempting to eat a take-out at your desk, your body will require you for taking the time away from your workstation to eat a wholesome nutrient-rich meal. Consuming a lunch with heart-healthy fruits and vegetables will help you maximise your productivity levels throughout the afternoon.
If you do need that mid-afternoon pick me up, stock some sugar free candy
at your desk. Having these kinds of treats around can help keep maintain healthy blood sugar levels. You will find other sweet snacks which will leave you feeling worse for wear.
Here at Glandore we believe in providing and encouraging healthy working environments. With initiatives like our complimentary wellness program, we aim to improve our members’ wellbeing both in and out of the office. To find out more about how you can benefit from becoming a Glandore member, please click here.