The new year is the perfect time to ditch bad habits and start afresh. And that includes in the workplace. If you spent most of 2016 suffering from a stiff neck, back pain or headaches, it’s time to reassess the way you work. Here are five healthy desk habits we recommend at The Alignment Studio for a pain-free and productive 2017.
1. Take regular breaks
Need to speak to Joe in accounts? Don’t just be lazy and send an email. The fact is we’re not built for sitting for hours on end staring at a screen. Our bodies (and eyes) need regular breaks, so get up and stretch your legs at least once every 30 minutes. Go for a quick walk at lunchtime, even if it’s only around the block. And take the stairs instead of the lift every now and then.
2. Stretch more
If you want to be even kinder to your body, add a few easy stretches into your work day. Here are three to try, best repeated every half hour. 1) Sit on your left hand with the palm facing the ceiling. Using your right hand, pull your right ear to your right shoulder. You should feel a nice stretch from the top of your neck down to the top of your shoulder on the left hand side. Repeat on the right. 2) Remain seated on your left hand as per first exercise. Turn 45 degrees to the right and look at your right armpit. Using your right hand, pull your head down closer to your armpit. 3) Supporting your head with your palms, arch over the back of your chair.
3. Love your lower back
Suffer from lower back pain? Try this simple and effective tip. Roll up a towel and place it in the small of your back. This will give you more support through your lower back, and reduce discomfort caused by sitting.
4. Make simple ergonomic improvements
At our Physio clinic in Melbourne CBD, we work with a lot of desk jockeys, many of whom work long hours. Therefore, one of our main areas of expertise is ergonomics. Try the following simple changes to improve your work station set up:
- When looking straight ahead, you should be looking at the top half or third of your screen.
- When you bend your elbows at 90 degrees, no matter whether you’re standing or sitting, your elbows should be at desk height. Meaning you can have your keyboard pushed far enough in that you can have at least half of your forearm on the desk, rather than hanging off the edge.
- Keep feet flat on the ground. You should maintain a 90-degree angle at the hips, or knees can be slightly lower than the hips. Avoid having knees higher as this will put pressure on the hips.
- If using a laptop, either use an external screen, or an external keyboard and a laptop stand. Either way, ensure your screen is at eye level and your forearms are supported on the desk.
5. Ask for a raise!
We are huge proponents of sit-stand desks at The Alignment Studio! These clever desks allow the user to move from a seated to standing position frequently throughout the day. At around $1000, they are a lot cheaper than they have been in the past, and the long-time benefits pay off, and not just for workers. Employers will benefit from a happier, healthier and more productive staff, with fewer sick days.
We stock electric Sit2stand desks. Talk to us about how a sit-stand desk can help you today!