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HEAD & NECK
Allowing your neck muscles to feel at rest without tension provides long-term comfort, preventing the risk of repetitive stress and injury. If working primarily on a laptop, it is recommended that you always use an external screen, full-size keyboard, and mouse. Position the screen such that you can look at it directly, without twisting your body – shoulders parallel to the screen. When sitting up straight, the top line of the screen should align with your eye level and about one hand-length distance away. If the screen is not adjustable in height, you can place a stack of books to correct the height.
People positioning their screens sideways, not aligned with the center of their body
People positioning their screens too low/ high
Shoulders & Arms
The natural shoulders position is when the upper arms hang relaxed and are sitting close to your body and not splayed out to the side, reaching forward or being pushed backward, or raised up or too far down. Neutral elbow position does not force shoulders up or push elbows out. A good reference of complete rest for the shoulders and elbows is when the hands sitting on your lap. Achieving this level of relaxation is optimal and will provide long-term working comfort. A height-adjustable work surface allows putting your keyboard and mouse at the proper height for your natural hand position. Alternatively, you can raise your work chair height to meet that need, but be mindful to support your feet as well (also see foot comfort here – provide link).
Height of desk is usually too high, creating unnatural working conditions such as tension in shoulders, compression of the soft tissue of forearms
The monitor and keyboard are not centered to our body or too far away from the body, forcing us to reach out and thus putting us in tension for a prolonged period of time.
Working on laptops forces us to hunch over them with pinched shoulders, due to the small size keyboard and mouse location.
height adjustable desks
laptop holders + external mouse/keyboard
Wrists & Hands
working on full-size keyboard, which is propped up on it feet and angled up
using a small or poorly designed mouse, which forces us to grab it and use our wrist muscle to move it around, causing repetitive stress and carpal tunnel syndrome.
improper work surface height – too high or too low.
full-size ergonomic keyboards
Sitting work, back comfort
Your back is comprised of three sections – sacral, lumbar, and thoracic. Each one has a defining role in forming your sense of comfort and wellbeing. Adjusting your work chair properly can minimize the risk of long-term discomfort. With feet planted on the floor, thighs parallel to the floor, sit back in your chair such that your lumbar is touching the chair’s back. Lean back and make sure your thoracic region is also in contact with the chair’s upper back. Always keep your chair unlocked and strive to work in reclined posture as frequently as possible. This will help distribute the weight of your upper body away from your lower back – lumbar and sacral area. Changing to your next comfortable position is key. Having your lumbar area supported properly will ensure good back health and posture. Leaning forward for prolonged periods of time, unsupported by your chair, increases the negative load on your lower back exponentially and can lead to pain and injury. Shoulders hang relaxed and your elbows stay close to your body, bent between 90 and 120 degrees. Legs are parallel to each other, not crossed.
Sitting on the front edge of the seat or constantly leaning forward because our screen is positioned too far.
The chair cannot hold our body in equilibrium due to poor mechanics.
sliding across the seat, leaving a big gap between our lower back and lumbar support of the chair (slouching)
the work surface height is too low or too high
Standing work, back comfort
the screen is positioned too far forcing our body to bend forward
the work surface height is too low, thus making us lean forward
the work surface is too high, increasing pressure on arms and shoulders
Standing for too long in a fixed posture, loading our hips, knees and ankles excessively
sit/ stand conversion kit
standing soft mat
Legs & Feet, sitting work
working on fixed height chair, that does not allow for any vertical adjustment to a improved comfort level
The chair is adjusted too low, poorly distributing the load of our body and leaving localized pressure on our sitting bones.
the chair seat has poorly contoured seat and back geometry, producing localized pressure points and overall lack of comfort.
the work surface height is too high *, making us adjust the chair too high and leaving our feet to dangle – excessively compressing our soft tissue and restricting blood flow to/ from our lower legs. * all standard fixed height desks (74 cm) are too high for majority of the of people (people shorter than 190 cm).
ergonomic task chair
height adjustable desk
Legs & Feet Standing Work
Some people prefer to work standing for long periods of time, but be mindful not to stand in any one position for too long. Shifting the load from one leg to the other and then back to both will increase the level of comfort in any given period of time. Introducing a footrest for placing one leg higher or a perching stool (half-seated, half-standing posture) can further help the level of comfort. To further improve your standing work comfort, please consider adding a soft mat under your feet.
forgetting to move and change postures when doing standing work
not having a place to prop your feet up so you can off-load the stress on your knee and ankle joints
working on a hard floor surface increases standing discomfort
The quality, intensity, and contrast of the natural and artificial light in your work area has a profound effect on your ability to focus and produce good results while working in complete comfort. Further, working with digital and paper-based sources introduces a level of complexity for everyone, but especially for older people, whose contrast sensitivity is significantly diminished. Some things to consider: 1. Avoid direct or reflected sunlight in your screen (bright spots) – position your screen sideways to an unshaded window; 2. Considering the ambient light in your workspace, adjust your screen’s brightness to match that of your surroundings; 3. Introduce a task light that you can point to the paper-based sources you reference, positioning it opposite of your leading handling; 4. A task light can also bring the proper amount of light where you need it most, thus allowing you to reduce the overhead lighting intensity; 5. Be mindful of any glaring light spots that divert your attention, and turn them down/ off.
not enough light in your primary work area, too much contrast between the screen and ambient light
too much and poorly directed overhead light, casting hard shadows over the active work area
high-intensity glaring spot of light, causing our eye muscle to work excessively in order rot adjust and also hi-jacking our attention and focus
poorly positioned work area relative to your natural light sources
adjustable ambient lighting