As more jobs become desk based or sedentary, more and more people are spending long periods of time sitting in chairs with some of us sitting for more than five hours a day. If you add home working into the equation, which a huge percentage of us are now still doing, the chance of getting up and walking about to speak to colleagues or to take a break, becomes even less. This can have a detrimental effect on your health and how to sit correctly at your desk becomes even more important.
Sitting for longer than 20 minutes has negative effects on your body, including an increase in musculoskeletal problems such as back and neck problems, and it is recommended that you move regularly to avoid these negative affects.
How to sit
To avoid spinal stress you should do your very best to sit upright, making sure that your upper back is straight and that your lower back curves to the shape of the chair. Having your legs in certain positions (crossed) can seriously decrease the necessary amount of blood flow to run through your body, so placing your feet flat on the floor is best, if you are unable to move the height of your chair, then a footstool can assist.
Eye level screens
Good desk posture means avoiding neck injuries too. You want to make sure your monitor or laptop is at eye-level and about an arm’s length away from you. This way, you won’t be straining your neck while looking up or down at your screen. To make sure you can achieve this without adjusting your chair or desk height from their correct settings, you should look at buying a laptop or monitor stand. This way, everything on your desk can be adjusted for maximum comfort and enable you to sit correctly at your desk.
Avoid screen reflection
Your screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there’s glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of the screen so you know what’s causing it. Position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight and If necessary, pull blinds across the windows. Adjusting the screens brightness or contrast can make it much easier to use, and can avoid reflection.
Chair and desk height
Adjust your chair height so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor as this can help prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body so your arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint. Try and make sure you chair has arm rests to assist with this optimal position.
Your desk should ideally be height adjustable .Height adjustable desks offer several advantages over fixed desks. They are good if you are tall, short or in a wheelchair; if people of different heights are likely to be sharing a desk; or even if you wish to stand and sit for different periods throughout the day. In terms of the ideal height of the desk, if you are seated with your chair correctly adjusted then your arms should be bent to 90 degrees and the desk should be set to the height of your forearms.
Keep objects close
Keep key object, such as your telephone, stapler or printed materials close to your body to minimise reaching and try and stand up to reach anything that can’t be comfortably reached while sitting. Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard and whilst typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck, to avoid neck strain.
For further information on how to sit correctly at your desk and assistance in choosing the ideal desk for you, please contact us here.