ABC of a good working position
Use these tips to easily improve your working position and overall well-being. Have you adjusted your workstation? Do you have a good sitting posture?
Sort out your workstation!
An adjustable chair and desk, a separate monitor and keyboard and a good lamp – these are the elements for a good, ergonomic workstation.
Feet on the ground
Your seat is at the right height if your feet are firmly on the floor and the backs of your thighs are well supported. Leave about ten centimetres between the edge of the seat and the backs of your knees to prevent your feet going numb.
Let your arms rest
Pull your chair up to the desk and let your arms rest on the desk while you type on the keyboard – don’t forget to relax your neck and shoulders!
Don’t be dazzled!
Working in the dark is not a good idea, but life in the limelight can be exhausting even for an office worker. Ensure that the office lights are not reflecting in your eyes, or off your monitor or keyboard. The best place for a lamp is usually at the side of the workstation.
Don’t slouch in your chair, but don’t sit too straight either!
Both uncontrolled and exaggerated straight sitting positions cause static tension in the muscles, which results in various aches and pains. Therefore, when you sit down, try and find a natural posture: pull the bottom of your belly in and straighten your back.
A beautiful arch
Both extremely straight and rounded positions of the spine strain the discs and slow down circulation, while arching your back too much puts strain on the small joints in the back. The best sitting position is with a good posture but with a natural arch in the small of your back – why else would it be there?
It’s all in the pelvis – even your posture
Trust your chair: sit as far back as you can so that it supports your pelvis. Good support for the lower back prevents pain and tension all the way up to your neck!
Copy the swans!
No matter how well supported your lower back is, if you cannot keep the position of your neck in control, it will start hurting. Start by putting the monitor 50 to 85 centimetres away from your eyes at a height that means you have to look slightly downwards. Pay attention to the position of your head. Keep your neck long and your head centred on top of your shoulders, and don't let your jaw – and your head – slump forward in front of your shoulder line!
The next position is always the best!
Reposition your back and neck several times a day. Even the tiniest repositioning will ease tension! If your desk is adjustable, work standing up at times.
Feel the rhythm
Sitting for long periods can slow down metabolism and circulation. Take a break every hour or so and move: roll your shoulders backwards with your elbows bent, lift your shoulders up and down and shake your arms.
Seek relief in counter-positions
You can ease muscle tension with counter-positions that stimulate blood circulation. A few times a day, move your neck well forward and backward over the shoulder line. When you get up from your chair, bend your back slightly backwards. Relieve tension in your shoulder blades by putting your hands on your shoulders so that your elbows are pointing forward. With a relaxed neck, shoulder blades down and good posture, move your upper body from left to right with a slightly pumping motion.
Exercise is the best medicine!
Just ten minutes of exercise a few times a day will cheer you up and boost your metabolism. Walk briskly to the coffee machine, choose the longest route to the printer or walk about during internal discussions!Experts interviewed for the article:
Physiotherapist Sari Kallela
Occupational physiotherapist Annukka Knuutinen