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Although it’s “just a desk job,” working in an office can wreak absolute havoc on our bodies.
If you’re somebody who spends all day at a desk and computer , you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Whether it’s lower back pain, wrist pain, a really tight neck, or a lack of mobility, when we spend all day at a desk to pay the bills, our bodies often get stuck picking up the tab.
What can we do to counteract this office life we have to live?
Set your workspace up to succeed
If you work a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than you do at anything else in your life.
And yet, that time is often spent sitting in a chair that’s too low, with a desk that’s too high, and our necks bent down looking at a screen at an angle that makes us feel like Quasimodo.
That can result in all sorts of nasty stuff, like eyestrain, shoulder pain, back pain, arm pain, wrist pain, and neck pain.
Desk jobs might not seem physically taxing, but they can certainly cause us some physical problems. If you’re going to level up your office life, it’s time to do a desk audit.
So let’s start with setting your desk chair at the proper height so you can type without scrunching your shoulders up. I swear, 90% of desk/chair combos, in offices or in coffee shops have this ratio wrong.
You want to sit in a chair at a height where you can sit with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back, you’re sitting up tall, and your forearms are parallel to the ground or or lower, meaning you don’t need to reach up to your keyboard, nor shrug your shoulders.
I can tell when I work at a desk that’s the wrong height, and you probably can too: my shoulders shrug up, I get tense, and my neck bothers me for the next few days.
So, set your desk at the right height for you!
PICK A GREAT CHAIR:
You probably spend more than a third of your existence at a desk chair, so do what you can to make sure you’re setting in a chair that is not destroying your spine!
Last year, in an effort to fix my back issues, I bought a great desk chair . Honestly, it’s been fantastic, and my back feels great sitting in it for extended periods of time. But, I know it’s incredibly pricey.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a great chair (unless you can afford it) – you simply need a chair that has an adjustable height so you can set it so your feet are comfortably on the floor, a solid cushion to sit on, and good lower back support.
If your company supplied you with a crappy office chair, ask for the money to buy a good one (“it’ll improve my productivity!”), and head to an office supply store and try out a bunch of chairs. If they won’t pay for it, consider making the upgrade yourself.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to change your setup, and I’ve found that the inexpensive solutions above were well worth the money invested. Feel free to prop your monitor up with whatever you have around.
For laptop users, a separate keyboard and mouse can alleviate a lot of the “cramped” feelings and prevent you from ending up hunched over a laptop.
IF YOU WANT TO REALLY NERD OUT: check out this cool site from Ergotron (note: not a member of the Autobots). Simply put in your height and it can help you determine the height of your chair, keyboard, and monitor.