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What can we do Right Now to feel more comfortable at work?

We all know the frustration of constant niggling aches and pains at work. Working with computers is surprisingly stressful and physically demanding. The aches and pains can make us irritable and effect our work. That’s why new workplace health initiatives are increasingly focusing on building each employee’s own injury prevention work skills.

Prevention is always better than cure, but we are all too busy at work and too tired at home to read a lot self-help stuff. So what can we do right now to increase comfort at work?

Three Very Easy Steps!

 To help avoid the pain, check out these easy to apply tools and suggestions every time you feel the twinges start.

Ergonomics

Check Your Workstation Set-up

Try this online checklist from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration for an easy to apply eTool to help you create a safe and comfortable computer workstation.

Workplace Health & ErgonomicsAsk yourself,

  • Can I work with relaxed shoulders, both elbows at my waist and my forearms (but not my elbows) resting on the work surface?
    • If you are getting pain in your upper back or under your shoulder blade, your chair may be too low or you might be slightly leaning to one side when mousing. Try lifting your chair height and get a friend to check you are sitting square to your screens when typing.
  • When I look directly ahead, am I looking near the top of my screen?
    • If you tilt your head back or look up at the top of your screen, it may be set too high. If you are also getting pain at the top of your spine and headaches, consider lowering your screen.
  • Am I resting back in my chair when I work?
    • Lower back pain is associated with poor chair back adjustment or leaning forward when working. Make sure the lumbar support fits into the small of your back and rest back against the chair as much as possible.

Release tension

Think About How You Feel While You Work.

A lot of pain associated with computer work is caused by tension in the shoulders, upper back and neck (what Gamers know as End Gaming).

Reduce discomfort by releasing tension Reduce discomfort by releasing tension

To release muscle tensions and significantly reduce the pain, sit back in your chair, roll your shoulders, take a deep breath and consciously relax.

Early research suggests that regularly releasing tension and consciously relaxing can reduce pain in your neck and shoulders by up to 50%.

Make it a habit to release tension and relax every time you finish a call or piece of work.

Keep moving

We are designed to be active!

We all know we need to move more, but think beyond the usual ‘Take the Stairs’ or ‘Walking Meetings’. These are great but don’t fit into your everyday routine. Instead think about all the little things you can build into a normal work day.

  • StretchStand up on long calls
  • Dynamic and static stretching regularly
  • Stand up during breaks

Dynamic stretches are fantastic and are increasingly being used in wellness programs. A great one to try, that does not interfere with work flow, is a seated upper body rotation stretch.  Simply reach and look towards the opposite side of your computer screen. This is a gentle flowing dynamic stretch that is repeated at least five times on each side.

For other Dynamic Stretches…click here

To Summarise

Working with computers means we sit or stand in static postures for extended periods of time. This is both mentally and physically demanding work and leads to a lot of discomfort and even injury. To gain greater control over your personal health and wellbeing at work, take these 3 simple steps.

3EasySteps

All new work skills take a bit of practice, so save this article and share it with your colleges to ensure you can easily refer to these steps and links when needed.

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