Small business owners spend a lot of time at the desk behind their computer, working steadily without a break. Home-based business owners may opt to use their kitchen table as a desk for their computer or even worse, sit cross-legged on the couch with the (literally) “laptop” computer. This Mayo Clinic article offers a helpful diagram on proper set up.
My colleague, Leanne L. Burns, PT, MPT, and Certified Ergonomics Assessment Specialist provides expert advice:
Ergonomics is important. However, it is our BEHAVIORS that drive injury at a greater rate than “ergonomic” set ups. I have consulted with workers in light industry for 17 years and have watched employers purchase expensive “ergonomic” tools or workstations. However, the workers often choose not to adjust the items (chairs, desks, work stations) to “save time.” Actually, they are working harder in the positions they CHOOSE to work and are not saving time at all. They are less efficient and have to work harder.
Work has increasingly become more focused with the digital age. It is the sustained postures that can wreak havoc on the body. Sitting can be hard on your body if you don’t perform light movement and/or stretches every hour. Performing the right stretches can help your body recover from the work done in that hour. These “stretches” are actually not to lengthen muscles but to enhance blood flow for better work recovery.
The Mayo clinic diagram is good, however, I prefer a slight downward tilt of the seat pan (vs. straight 90 degrees) — this puts the base of the spine in a more neutral position for long duration sitting. At any rate, I advise people to frequently adjust their chairs and other items (keyboards, mouses) at their work stations to share the work load.
By far, the largest ergonomic faux pas that I correct is the monitor height. (Which, by the way, can’t be adjusted on lap tops without a stand and a separate keyboard.) The top FRAME of the monitor should be at eye level. This places your viewing angle for your eyes at about 20 degrees and reduces significant strain on your neck and head.
Ergonomics is important, but not the end all. Using the working body correctly is often a choice (vs. mandatory in the job description). But I believe that it should be everyone’s priority.
[Would you rather spend your time off enjoying it or would you rather spend it in a doctor’s waiting room?]
Leanne Burns, PT, MPT, CEAS is President and owner of The Physical Therapy Clinic, Inc. – Best Results, Least Visits ®
She has 27 years experience as a physical therapist and Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist. Her clinic prides itself in getting clients better—faster, so that they can live life to fullest, saving time, money and pain. www.Best ResultsPT.com
Extending a special thank-you to Leanne for contributing to today’s Beeline for Business blog! – Melissa