Office Workers: Break Your Desk Habits Or They Will Break You

The key important factors and tips to proper desk seating habits that we may or may not be aware of but must implement for the sake of our long term health.


4 minute read

14th January, 2020 | Remarcable

For those of us working in offices, sitting down at a computer screen all day is usually a necessity. However, sitting down for multiple uninterrupted hours each day is really not good for us.

The NHS says that sitting for prolonged periods slows down the body's metabolism, which affects the ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat, all of which can lead to more serious health concerns (NHS, 2019).

Plus staring at a computer screen all day doesn't help either. According to Prevent Blindness, eye strain can be caused due to eye fatigue and dry eyes from looking at screens for too long (Prevent Blindness, 2016). While both sitting and looking at computers are necessary parts of a lot of our jobs, there is a lot that we can do to improve office ergonomics and minimise the potential health risks of being in an office all day and improve our health while we are at it.


So what can we do about it I hear you ask?

CHAIR

Adjustable
Your daily office chair should have adjustable height, arm-rests and back
Back
The back of the chair should be tilted slightly back, to allow for a slightly reclining position. If you need to support your lower back, consider adding a cushion (Vergara & Page, 2000)
Legs
Legs at 90-degree angle and your knees should be level with your hips. Your feet should be resting flat on the floor, or a footrest if the floor is too low (Mayo Clinic, 2019)
Desk
How you adjust your chair's height and whether you need a footrest or not is determined by your desk. Your forearms should be parallel to the desk and your wrists should be below or level with your elbows, so adjust your chair's height accordingly first (Mayo Clinic, 2019)


COMPUTER

Screen Distance
The monitor's ideal viewing distance is 24-36 inches, which allows you to see the screen comfortably without having to strain your back from leaning in, or your eyes from having the screen too close
Eye-level
Your eyes should be in line with the top of the monitor or slightly below it, but no lower than the address bar on a web browser. If you wear bifocals, consider lowering the monitor by 1-2 inches for a more comfortable viewing Angle. Your screen should be titled down slightly to minimise reflections and thereby reduce the risk of eye strain


MOUSE & KEYBOARD


Position
If you use a mouse with your right hand, have the mouse in line with your right shoulder, and the left edge of the keyboard in line with your left shoulder. Adjust accordingly if you're a left-hander. Ideally use a keyboard with no number pad, since this allows your keyboard to be central, which is more comfortable and makes typing easier
Height
Most desks are too high for the recommended keyboard height of 2 inches above your thighs. A solution to this is to use an adjustable pull-out keyboard tray under your desk
Wrists
Desks are hard surfaces and hours spent with our wrists pressed against them be hurt. Invest in wrist pads for your keyboard or mouse pad if you feel you need them


LAPTOP USERS


Laptops are incredibly practical and portable, but they have bad ergonomics. The screen is too close and low down causing strain on our necks and the keyboard's position is entirely reliant on the desk's height. If you are a laptop user, here are some solutions to these problems:
Laptop stands
These help to lift up the screen to a better height, reducing strain on your neck
External screen, keyboard and mouse
Although it seems counterintuitive, if you use your laptop primarily at a work desk, using it as a desktop computer allows you to use the same ergonomic tips as we mentioned above. If a screen is not possible, try raising your laptop on a pile of books or a laptop stand and using an external keyboard and mouse.


PHONES


If you take calls at your desk and need to type or write while calling, make sure you use a headset or put your phone on speaker. It is not good for your neck to cradle the phone between your head and shoulder and can lead to health issues further down the line (Mayo Clinic, 2019)


BREAKS


Walk around every hour of sitting
Sitting down for too long can cause blood circulation problems, so by stretching our legs every hour, this keeps our blood flowing as it's supposed to.
Take lunch breaks away from computer screens
It's good for our productivity and general wellbeing to sit away from work areas while we are breaking. Mental ergonomics are important too!
Look outside to reset your eyes
Looking at screens emitting blue light all day can cause our eyes to become tired and strained. By looking outside every now and then, even if only briefly, we can reset our eyes to prevent eye strain. If you don't have access to a window, try fixing your vision on something in the distance for a similar effect.
Don't forget to blink
Blinking is necessary to moisten the eyes and prevent dryness. We tend to blink less when looking at a screen, so make sure to be mindful of your blinking
Rest your eyes
Our eyes are working all day every day, so if they need it, give them a rest. Try covering your eyes with your palms for 10-15 seconds to give your vision a little boost


Ergonomics are a fundamental part of work-life. If we're going to be sitting in chairs and looking at screens all day, we need to make sure the time we spend doing that is as healthy as possible and that we look after ourselves. You will find yourself to be far more comfortable and thereby happier and more productive if you have a good set-up at work paired with a healthy attitude towards taking breaks. Book our complimentary workspace design consultation with us today to ensure the wellness and productivity of your teams.


Good Reads

Design

The Importance of Detail throughout Design

Expanding far beyond aesthetics, we at Remarcable mean a method of expression that communicates a story through strategy carefully tailored to magnify the micro details and fully optimize their attributes’ capacity at creating a long-lasting impression in a single short interaction and it is all in the details.

Design

Co-working, Hybrid Model, WFH what is best for my company? pros and cons

With so many work models out there it can be hard to decide which one works best for your company as there is no ‘one size, fits all’ when it comes to office space to match your company values, size, and growth. We have broken down the pros and cons to co-working space models to help you best decide.

Design

How to put patients at ease and add value to your private clinic

There is a lot of fear at the moment around our health due to the pandemic and people are avoiding booking their dentist checkups. We share with you some ways you can ensure the safety of your clinic and reassure your patient's safety to return back to their overdue appointments.

Design

How can your space design set you apart from your competitors?

Commercial interior design is changing, we are in an age where technology and design innovations are booming and our environments need to keep up with the trends. We have filtered together three main factors in design that will set your company apart from its competitors; because first impressions are lasting impressions.

Design

Guide to maintaining a good work environment

With over 20 years of experience in office fit outs and maintenance we have listed 6 quick and easy tips for you to consider in maintaining your office environment and equipment.

Design

How to make meetings more bearable

Reimagining the idea of attending and entering a meeting room through our 4 main focus areas in designing strategic office spaces that benefits our wellbeing.

Design

Remarcable’s Artsy Take On Dentistry

An in depth view of our thoughts and processes for designing a commissioned project centred around wellbeing and innovation within dentistry design.

Design

Work Rest Replenish Perform

The importance of break out areas in the workplace and how to best design these to meet our human needs of connecting with nature.