Sitting at a computer all day can have serious consequences for your musculoskeletal system, especially if you’re repeating the same motion throughout the day. Typing, for example, puts you at high risk for developing a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) like carpal tunnel syndrome, while staring at a computer screen (a type of RSI in itself) can impair your vision in the long term and lead almost immediately to Computer Vision Syndrome, which is associated with headaches, blurry vision, dry, red and issue eyes, and pain in your shoulders and neck. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, by adapting a preventative mentality and doing just a few ergonomic hacks, you’ll be an office ergo guru in no time. Here’s how to do it.
1) Buy Ergonomic Equipment
From standing desks to ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic equipment is far more than a lifestyle trend. Ergonomic equipment is built with your body in mind, and is fully adjustable so it can adapt to your unique behaviors. What’s more, these devices and peripherals designed to provide maximum support, so your muscles will have places to rest while they’re not needed for any given task. This is essential for preventing fatigue and strain.
2) Change the Way You Work
How you use the equipment in your workspace matters just as much as the equipment itself. When typing on a keyboard, for instance, you want to make sure you keep your wrists in a neutral position. Your hands should float naturally over the keyboard, rather than letting them splay outwards. It’s also important to sit up straight rather than slouching down into your chair. Also, to be sure and get up every now and again for a good stretch break. This will ensure you’re always challenging your muscles to move in new ways, thereby mitigating the chances of developing an RSI.
3) Remember the 20-20-20 Rule
Set a timer to remind you every 20 minutes or so to take a break from staring at your screen. During this break, refocus your eyes on a point at least 20 feet away for a solid 20 seconds. This will help prevent the development of CVS.
For more in-depth tips on this important subject, we highly recommend reading,Hack Your Workspace With Ergonomics, from Inside Higher Ed.