The right office desk can make a huge difference in your comfort and productivity. But it’s not enough just to buy the right desk — you need to set it up properly, too.
This article will show you how to create an ergonomic workspace that is comfortable for your wrists, neck, back, and other joints while still providing ample space for work supplies and equipment.
Read on to find out some more tips on how to make your office desk more ergonomic.
- Making Your Office Desk More Ergonomic
- Make sure your desk is at the right height
- Get a standing desk so you can stand or sit to work
- Invest in an ergonomic chair with good back support and armrests
- Have a mat on the floor in front of your desk to take breaks from sitting down
- Organize your space
- Turn off any electronics that emit blue light before bedtime
- Keep water close by to stay hydrated
Making Your Office Desk More Ergonomic
Make sure your desk is at the right height
People who work at desks all day should keep the height of their workstations between 28 and 32 inches. This is high enough that you can type while keeping your wrists straight (don’t bend them up or down), but low enough that your feet rest comfortably on the floor.
If your workstation is too high, you’ll have to slouch in your chair to reach the keyboard. And if it’s too low, you could end up with neck or back pain from leaning forward.
Get a standing desk so you can stand or sit to work
Standing desks allow you to switch between sitting and standing as you work, which is a great way to help prevent fatigue. The ideal height for a standing desk is usually somewhere between 36 and 45 inches high. However, if your bosses require that everyone use the same type of desk, make sure it’s an adjustable-height model so you can make it work for you.
Invest in an ergonomic chair with good back support and armrests
You might think that any old chair would be fine to sit in for a few hours per day, but the truth is most chairs (even those marketed as “ergonomic”) aren’t designed with comfort in mind. If you spend all day sitting in one of these seats, you’re likely to end up with back pain or sore wrists and arms. And to make matters worse, many people find that they start to slouch forward in their chairs without even noticing it.
Have a mat on the floor in front of your desk to take breaks from sitting down
Sitting for too long can have a negative effect on your body, so take a break every now and then. Instead of just standing up and pacing around your desk, try sitting on a mat instead. Some people find that sitting cross-legged or kneeling helps them to feel more comfortable, while others prefer sitting in a chair with back support.
If you have a cubicle wall, make sure to keep the bottom of your chair properly supported so it doesn’t slide out from underneath you if you shift around in your seat.
Organize your space
Don’t let piles of paper and other items pile up on your desk. If your workstation is messy, you’ll end up spending more time looking for things instead of working, which will take a toll on your productivity levels. Use file holders and trays to keep important items within reach but out of the way so they don’t distract you.
Make sure that everything has a specific place, and then label the spots where each item goes for easy reference.
Turn off any electronics that emit blue light before bedtime
Blue light suppresses your levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep patterns. If you work long hours or do shift work, then it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing electronics to have laying around.
Not only should you switch off all electronic devices by the end of the day (and especially before bedtime), but you should also go one step further and buy an anti-blue-light program for your computer so you can reduce the amount of blue light it emits. Studies show that this can improve sleep quality and help with sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Designing your office desk space to be ergonomic is a good place to start when trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, it’s important to remember that even the best ergonomics in the world won’t solve all of your woes if you’re working long hours at a computer screen for an extended period of time.
It’s also worth noting that while most office workers are quick to blame their health problems on poor ergonomics in the workplace, in most cases these injuries are caused by poor body mechanics (i.e., they develop bad habits like sitting in chairs with little back support or leaning over desks for hours on end) rather than an actual problem with their work setup.
If you’re experiencing discomfort at work, it’s wise to do your research and talk with an occupational therapist about your particular issues.
Keep water close by to stay hydrated
You may not feel thirsty or notice how much you’re sweating when you sit in your office chair all day, but it’s easy to become dehydrated without realizing it. Fortunately, there are ways around this problem (like having a water bottle nearby). Keep a glass of water on the corner of your desk and take small sips throughout the day to prevent dry mouth and headaches.
Ergonomics in the workplace is a good place to start when it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but you should also take care of your body outside of the office if you don’t want physical discomfort at work. Make sure that you’re taking regular breaks from sitting and drinking enough water throughout the day, as well as managing any stress levels before they get out of hand.
Finally, make sure that your desk space has been designed with ergonomic consideration in mind so that this form of pain doesn’t creep up on you after all these other steps have already been taken.