Does Your Workstation Help or Hurt You?

There’s been a lot of studies that tell us the dangers of sitting at your desk for long periods of time. With most Americans sitting for an average of 11 hours a day, it’s not surprising that standing desks and ergonomic keyboards are in the spotlight. 

But if you stand, or are on the go for most of the day, what sort of products have you seen that address the ailments these activities may cause down the road? 

In addition, many adjustments have been made to workers’ environments due to recent social distancing needs, whether it’s working from home, or establishing new workflows. It’s an important time to evaluate if your work station needs ergonomic-minded adjustments for your ongoing health. 

 

Don’t Ignore These 4 Warning Signs

There are subtle warning signs that can alert you to repetitive motion injuries and other complications caused by your work environment.

  • You feel uncomfortable soon after you start working or can’t stay in one position for long.
  • A dull pain becomes more persistent & harder to ignore throughout the day.
  • Aches you feel during the week improve on your days off.
  • You start feeling numbness or tingling during your daily activities.

These may seem like common sense red flags to some, but don’t brush off minor aches & pains. When ignored, they can result in worse injuries that require costly doctor visits and even surgery. 

 

3 Adjustments You Can Make Right Now

While it’s always best to consult with a doctor for any physical ailment, there are some simple things you can do to make sure your workstation isn’t working against you. 

  • Make sure your wrists and other joints (including your neck) are not held at extreme angles while working. An improperly leveled desk surface or a poorly angled tool can often cause this. Make adjustments if you can, and if not, make sure to take short breaks to stretch. 
  • If you sit, don’t let your feet dangle from your chair, or stretch out your legs under your desk. If your desk cannot be lowered to accommodate setting your feet on the floor, you can put a short stool or box under your desk. If you cannot adjust the height, put the desk on sturdy blocks to allow enough room to have your joints at 90-degree angles.
  • Bring your work closer. Without hunching over or resorting to extreme posture, find ways to bring your tasks closer to you to avoid overstretching your limbs and back. The Mayo Clinic says work should be within 20 – 30 inches of your torso. Keep commonly used items within arms reach, an average of 25 inches.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, it is best to contact your doctor. Before it gets too extreme, try these easy steps to stave off the ill effects of repetitive motion tasks. We should feel proud of the work we accomplish throughout the day, rather than dealing with aches and pains.