Americans spend an average of 8.8 hours at work every weekday. And most don’t do anything to make their time at the office any easier on their bodies. But creating a better work environment is simpler than you think (and no, it does not require the purchase of a treadmill desk). In fact, with just a few simple adjustments to your chair, keyboard and monitor, you can drastically improve your overall well-being.
Your chair: Not all sitters are created equal. Here’s how to properly customize your seat to fit your personal needs:
- Raise the height of your seat so your feet are flat on the ground and your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Adjust the height of your arm rests just enough to support your elbows in a relaxed position, without causing you to hunch or raise your shoulders.
- Try to angle the back as forward as possible. The further back you put it, the more likely you’ll be to slouch.
Mouse/keyboard: Finding the right mouse and keyboard position is more important than you may think. Here’s what you need to know:
- Make sure your mouse and keyboard are as close together as possible, with the letter keys of the keyboard centered on your desk and the mousepad just off to the side.
Computer monitor: If you’re prone to neck pain, it may be time to re-evaluate the position of your screen. Here’s what to keep in mind when doing so:
- Placement: Center your monitor directly in front of you so that you don’t have to twist your neck to look at the screen. It’s also best to keep it about an arm’s length away from where you’re sitting.
- Height: Place your monitor at a comfortable height so that your head does not tilt up or down when looking at the screen. If your screen’s height does not adjust, try stacking books under the monitor to achieve an ideal position.
- Bonus tip: Don’t forget to blink! When focused on a monitor, the typical person only blinks 4 to 5 times/minute (the average is 12 to 15 times/minute). As a result, eyes can become extremely dry and scratchy, leading to foggy vision.
Photo credit: Gayle L. Falkenthal