Office ergonomics is often something that we don’t think about, however, the way in which you setup your office can have large heath and productivity ramifications. It doesn’t matter if you are at your desk for an hour or 8 hours a day, a poorly setup desk and office space can severely impact your health and performance. Work Cover Queensland estimate that office workers who submit a work cover claim have an average of 4.8 weeks off work! This is a long period of time of reduced productivity for the business, increased stress on colleagues, and an increase in health costs and insurance premiums, along with the physical/mental health costs on the individual.
It probably sounds like common sense, but everyone is more productive when they feel comfortable. When someone is uncomfortable at their desk, they will fidget and have trouble concentrating on the task at hand, leading to reduced productivity. This loss of productivity can also lead to job dissatisfaction and an increase in stress as workers feel like they are not getting the work done that they would like to. Prolonged exposure of poor desk set up can also lead to individuals experiencing various health concerns, such as headaches, vision strain, neck/shoulder tightness, sore back, swelling in the lower limbs, leg cramps, carpal tunnel, etc.
Have a look at the picture below that outlines a great starting point for your office set-up.
Now that you have your desk sorted, you also need to remember the importance of regular movement throughout your day. Regular movement throughout the day can have several positive health benefits including reducing the risk of musculoskeletal pain such as lower back and neck pain, reducing eye strain or fatigue and improving your circulatory system and digestive tract function. So how can you increase your movement throughout the day? It can be easy, you just need to look for opportunities such as moving your printer and bin away from your workspace so you need to walk to use them, walk to your colleagues desk instead of calling or emailing them, eat morning tea and lunch away from your desk or stand during phone calls.
This movement is a great start to improving your health however, this incidental movement does not replace regular exercise. Regular moderate to vigorous exercise is fantastic for reducing the chance of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, weight management, reducing your risk of falls and helping you feel better by improving your energy levels, improving mood and helping you feel more relaxed and improving sleep quality. Contact us today if you would like more information on how an Exercise Physiologist can help you reduce your sedentary lifestyle and improve your health.