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As human beings, we spend over a third of our lives at work. For a large percentage, that translates to 90,000 hours spent in an office or at a desk.
You might not think about it as you go about your day, but the way your workspace is set up can have a significant effect on how you feel.
Your overall health and wellness are directly affected by your workstation, so make sure that you're taking care of yourself at the office by following these simple ergonomic essentials.
Start with a decent design
If you were to ask an office space designer, they'd be sure to tell you that creating a functional workplace starts with a solid layout.
As an employee, there's not much you can do to change the overall design of your office, but there are small things you can do to improve the flow of your workspace.
When you're at your desk, your computer should be directly in front of your body without any obstructions, like a support or chair back.
This is important for keeping strain off of the neck and spinal cord. It's not uncommon to find trash cans and other items placed right in front of someone's monitor; simply rearranging where these objects are placed can be enough to make it more ergonomic.
If sitting at your computer is too much, you might consider investing in a standing desk. Many people struggle with the idea of sitting all day, so this kind-hearted option can alleviate discomfort without requiring any major changes to your routine.
Let In the light
Where possible, try and let as much natural light as possible into your workspace. You can even bring in a plant or two to add some colour and life. Natural light is not only good for your mood, but it has also been proven to improve productivity directly.
In addition, being too boxed in with dark colours and dim lighting can cause feelings of anxiety and depression (not everyone responds the same way). If you find yourself in a workspace that doesn't have natural light, try and bring in some artificial lighting.
If you're concerned about the expense, try using LED lights instead of fluorescent bulbs.
Paying attention to posture
It's all too common to see people slumped over their keyboards while they work. Whether it's from fatigue or just pure comfort, this is a bad habit that you should break in order to keep your spine healthy.
Try and find ways to support any part of your body that might be in pain, whether that's your lower back, neck or shoulders. If you aren't getting much support at home or in the car, try wearing a lumbar support belt while you work.
This simple accessory goes under your lower back to help alleviate any pain associated with sitting too long.
If you're struggling to remember to sit up straight, try using the 'toothbrush' maneuver. When you feel yourself slumping, simply stretch your arms out in front of you and pretend that you are trying to brush your teeth. It might sound silly - but trust me, it works!
Keep visitors out
If you're sharing your workspace with others, keeping unwanted guests out of your personal space can be challenging.
Even if the person is just stopping by for a second, shuffling papers and accidentally brushing against you is enough to impact your workplace ergonomics.
When people stop by your desk unexpectedly, try and find a way to keep them moving. A great way of doing this is by placing away any papers that might be in the visitor's path.
You can even place multiple documents on top of one another, so it looks like you're hard at work! Being able to stay focused and minimise distractions does wonders for your productivity.
As you can see, creating an ergonomic and functional workplace is easy with just a few simple steps. So the next time you're in the office, take action and start reaping the physical and mental benefits.