Humanscale’s Ergo Experts have answered your questions on employee wellness and office ergonomics.
Here are some actionable tips you can use to improve your workspace today:
Q: I’m feeling overwhelmed by the Dos and Don’ts of office wellness. What are the Top 3 things I should be doing?
A: First, adjust your chair so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Position your keyboard and mouse at your resting elbow height. If your desk height is fixed, consider using an articulating keyboard platform for support.
Secondly, unlock your backrest and adjust its tension to allow for movement. Make sure to sit back in your chair and make frequent postural shifts throughout the day. Finally, position your monitor(s) at about arms reach to avoid squinting and leaning forward. The top of your monitor(s) should be positioned at your seated eye level. – Vincent Wang, CPE
Q: Are there types of hand exercises or stretches I should do after spending most of my day typing?
A: The goal of hand, wrist, and finger stretches is to increase blood flow and decrease muscle fatigue. It is important to keep your wrist in a neutral position while performing repetitive tasks such as using a mouse or typing on a keyboard. Additionally, specific stretches can be utilized periodically throughout the workday and at the end of the day to further minimize muscle fatigue and increase blood flow. Full wrist flexion, extension, rotation and individual finger extension stretches are highly recommended. These motions will stretch the muscles that are engaged while using the keyboard and mouse. – Elyssa Wasserberg, DC,CEES
Q: If I am suffering from some sort of restless leg situation, would standing more often help me?
A: Restless leg syndrome can be irritating and distract you from working efficiently. The discomfort is usually caused by a decrease of blood flow to the legs. Movement encourages an increase in blood flow and thus, helps to reduce the discomfort related to restless leg syndrome. Since long periods of sitting and/or standing are considered static, non-moving postures, they inherently decrease blood flow. Therefore, the act of moving from a seated position to a standing position is the factor that increases blood flow and decreases the discomfort related to restless leg syndrome. The best practices for alternating postures include a sit-to-stand ratio of 3:1. In other words, for every 45 minutes of sitting, 15 minutes of standing is ideal. – Elyssa Wasserberg, DC,CEES
Q: What happens at one of your ergonomic assessments?
A: The goal of an ergonomic assessment is to uncover and then correct potential sources of discomfort linked to your workstation setup. First, we focus on the basics of proper workstation configuration: chair adjustment, hand and wrist position and monitor set up. Once your workstation tools are properly fitted to your body, we shift our focus to breaking unhealthy postures such as forward leaning, prolonged static sitting and wrist anchoring. Lastly, our ergonomists evaluate aspects of the ambient environment (lighting, noise and thermal conditions) to further enhance your comfort. – Jonathan Puleio, M.Sc. CPE