Create a Kinder, Gentler Work Space
Easy fixes can promote your comfort and help you avoid injury
Hunching over your laptop in a poorly lit work space won’t just make you irritable and less productive. It can also be bad for your health. Follow these practical tips to create a more comfortable working environment.
Chair: Choose a desk chair that has a well-cushioned seat with a “waterfall” front (no sharp edge) that doesn’t press against the back of your knees and has a backrest to support your lower back. Make sure your feet can rest flat on the floor. There should be some wiggle room between your thighs and the underside of your desk or keyboard tray.
Keyboard Tray: If you have a desktop computer, your mouse should be situated right next to your keyboard so you don’t have to reach to use it. That means your keyboard tray should be large enough to hold both your keyboard and your mouse or mouse pad. Consider using a wrist or palm rest to keep your forearms, wrists and hands straight as you type.
Computer Monitor: Make certain that your monitor is at a comfortable distance from you and is situated at or below eye level. You should be able to sit comfortably and view your monitor without having to strain your head, neck or body forward or backward.
Light: Glare on your computer screen can cause eyestrain and headaches. Use blinds on windows to reduce bright light, or turn your monitor so it’s perpendicular to nearby windows. Adding a desk lamp
may also help by illuminating writing and reading areas while limiting brightness around your monitor.
Mini-Breaks: Sitting in one position for too long may overwork certain muscles. Take time out for small breaks every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the day to stretch or walk around a bit. To avoid losing track of time, install “break reminder” software on your computer, such as WorkPause (www.getworkpause.com). Need ideas for some simple stretches you can do in your work space? Get Office Yoga: Simple Stretches for Busy People by Darin Zeer.