Learning to Sit: Posture & Ergonomics for Work & School

Office Ergonomics
Don’t just sit there…. Get to work!”  used to be a familiar sound from the boss.  These days, however, most of us do all of our work sitting down on the job.

As you can imagine, spending 8 hours a day in one position is not the best for our bodies.  Improper sitting can subject your body to unnecessary stress that may eventually lead to pain and discomfort in the neck, shoulder or low back.  Here are some tips to reduce discomfort:

  • Don’t remain in one position for long periods. Try standing up or walking around about every 20 minutes.This routine can be incorporated into your work routine by taking phones calls, filing or reading while standing up rather than sitting. Try delivering a message to a co-worker in person rather than e-mailing or using inter-office mail.
  • Try using the hands-free option on your telephone or a headset rather than holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder as this practice over time can lead to neck and shoulder strain.
  • Listen to your body. When you feel tension or stress in certain area of your body like the neck, back and shoulders, change positions or try some gentle stretching exercises

Position your chair at a height where:

  1. The work surface is “elbow high.”
  2. Your feet are comfortably positioned flat on the floor
  3. When working, your elbows & knees are bent at 90 degree angles

If your chair is not adjustable, use a foot rest such as a phone book to attain this more ideal position

Position the height of your computer screen:

  1. Sit comfortably in your newly adjusted chair
  2. Close your eyes and relax, then, slowly reopen them.
  3. Where you first gaze as you open your eyes is the place to put the center of your screen

You can raise the height with books or a stand if needed.