Working from home, shared workspaces, hot-desking; work accommodations have grown increasingly dynamic. Even within offices that provide employees with their own desk, the emerging preference for tertiary spaces had caused companies to rethink the traditional workspace over the past decade.
With this shift comes a new application of office ergonomics. The old school image of a person sitting upright at a Video Display Terminal doesn’t really resonate when an increasing percentage of employees now work primarily from a mobile device. The new image of computer work is someone sitting, standing, leaning, and lounging in different locations around the office and beyond.
Maintaining Good Posture
As the nature of office work evolves, the focus of ergonomics emphasizes the importance of individual body awareness in a range of contexts and environments. Postural alignment requires vigilance, especially when the body isn’t supported by ergonomic equipment. In addition to taking regular breaks, its important to know how to self correct a protracted neck, or forward hunched shoulders. External cues from rest break apps and discreet wearable devices can offer real benefits when most of us lose track of the hours, forgetting to take regular stretch breaks to move. A quick and easy stretching routine that targets major muscle groups is also good to have on-hand throughout the day to release tension and maintain flexibility.
Adapting Your Environment
Whether working from home or from a public space, adapting a few key elements can help support your body. Look for a chair with a seat back for intermittent support. If you anticipate working in the same spot for more than an hour, setting the laptop on a stand and using an external keyboard and mouse is ideal for both seated and standing positions. Using the laptop stand and external devices will help keep your head, neck, forearms and wrists in neutral position.
Keep Your Commute Comfortable
Getting around the city everyday on your own two feet is daunting enough without the added stress of schlepping your gear. Lugging a laptop over your shoulder throws your body alignment off balance. Coupled with the repetitive impact of walking on pavement, bad body mechanics eventually cause discomfort. Travel smart to ease the burden on your joints by carrying a bag that disperses the weight evenly across your body.
Ultimately, ergonomics is all about making your workspace work for you. For more in-depth information on ergonomics, design, and staying healthy at work, an ergonomics consultation is your best bet.