It’s true that, as the saying goes, we weren’t born yesterday. We think we know how to talk, walk, and sit down. However, so many of us do not sit in a chair properly. It might sound silly or seem pretty basic, but there are a number of ways that you can harm your body merely by how you sit. And as most people sit all day for their jobs, you could be placing a great deal of stress on the body due to the way you sit at your desk. In order to correct these bad patterns and postures, here are a few ways you should never sit in your office chair.
When most people sit down, they cross their legs or ankles. While this might be commonplace at your workplace, you will want to break this habit. You should sit at your office chair with your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet resting flat. If you cross your legs all day, you can develop knee problems. Crossing your legs also impairs blood flow to your legs, which can lead to pains and cramps. You also don’t want to sit at your desk with your legs dangling above the ground and crossed. This will lead to poor blood circulation.
Leaning away from the back of the chair
We all are guilty of bad posture from time to time. However, if you notice how you sit at the office, you might discover that your back is seldom resting against the backrest of the chair. If you lean away from the back of the chair to read computer screens, write, or talk on the phone, you are placing unnecessary stress on your back. Your back isn’t supported in this position, which can produce a great deal of pain. One way to kick the habit of leaning in your chair is to purchase a chair that is ergonomically designed so that it will promote good posture.
Legs stretched out parallel to the floor on a footrest
At your desk, you might pull up another chair to rest your legs and feet. However, your legs should never be resting parallel to the floor on a footrest. While it might sound comfortable and even look more comfortable, it can actually lead to a great deal of discomfort. This practice does not promote good circulation to the legs. Poor blood flow can only make you feel more tired on the job.
You might think that there is really no wrong way to sit down. You bend your legs and rest your upper body on a surface. However, you can contort your body into different positions that you fail to notice over time. It is merely the way you always sit down. Those positions could be hurting your body more than helping it. The effects of how you sit can be both physical and mental. In order to promote the best health possible as you sit at your job, remember to avoid sitting in these three positions.
If you are overweight or obese, it is important to get healthy quickly. In workplaces across the United States, many billions of dollars are lost every year in revenue as workplaces need to compensate for sick leave.
While accidents do happen, many illnesses are easily avoidable. Especially when it comes to some musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis or RSI, they can arise through constant, daily discomfort in the workplace in a bad sitting position.
Getting the Right Seat
It is every worker’s responsibility to make sure that the seat they are working in is comfortable for their needs. While you will almost certainly start your workplace with a computer, a chair, a table and some other furniture, you should set up and customize your workspace so that it is comfortable for you.
Bad posture can also lead to problems with health in the workplace and if sitting in bad posture for years, various injuries can come up. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by excessive or unsafe use of a computer. The constant clicking action of fingers, wrists and typing can cause a nerve in the arm to begin swelling and causing pain.
Carpal tunnel can be very debilitating and painful, and is one of the chief causes of injuries and accidents in the workplace.
Sitting at the Right Distance and Angle
Setting up your seat so that you are at the right angle and distance from your monitor is also important. You need to be about 25” away (about an arm’s length or more) from your screen. This is also important for optical health. Every few minutes, look away from your monitor and fix your gaze on something else in the room or outside. This helps to flush the tear ducts in your eyes and readjust your vision.
The keyboard and mouse should be on the same flat surface. Your hands should be at 90 degrees to the table and be resting on the desk or on a keyboard rest. Feet should be flat on the floor to facilitate correct blood flow to every part of the body.
Coping with Seated Work
In some situations, you have no choice but to do seated work in an office for many hours at a time. This is where some coping strategies can come into place. These will allow you to preserve your health longer as well.
1) Every half an hour at least, you should take a short walk somewhere in the building. The bathroom, the kitchen, a vending machine, a brief walk outside. Some employers may not allow this too frequently so find out what is acceptable.
2) Ask your manager for a shared couch or resting area near a workplace. Workers can take short breaks there to read or they can have quiet discussions.
3) Stand up and walk around the room a few times every hour to move the blood a bit where it is needed.
Does it seem like all you do is work? Does it feel like your life is out of your control? Does it seem as though you spend more time embroiled in projects for your employer than you spend with your own children? If so, you’re not alone according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, welcome to the modern world. Most of us have a work/life balance that’s out of whack, off-kilter and skewed so that we lack control over the one thing that we actually own – our time. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The following tips will help you improve your work/life balance and regain a measure of control over your life.
1. Leave Work Where It Belongs
All too often, it seems like we bring our work home with us. This might be literal – you’re bringing home that file that just HAS to be done by tomorrow. It might be figurative – you’re carrying home the arguments, stress and interoffice politics that plague your workday. Do yourself and your family a favor. Leave work where it belongs – at the workplace. Separate your work life from your home life and you’ll immediately feel better balanced.
2. Track Time
If you feel like your work and home life are spiraling out of control, chances are that you’re spending too much time on things that ultimately don’t matter. Track the amount of time you spend on everything, whether you’re taking your kid to the soccer field or making a mad dash to complete that project at work. Based on your findings, cut out anything that’s unnecessary or superfluous. Eliminate time-wasting activities and you’ll free up time for more important things.
3. Take More Time Off
Taking more time off might seem like a pipe dream, but it can (and should) be a reality. There are plenty of benefits to getting away from the workplace for extended periods. You’ll find that it helps to combat burnout and improves both your creativity and your productivity when you return. The more time off you take, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll perform on the job.
4. Communication Overhaul
How much time to you spend corresponding via email each day? How long do you spend on the phone? How much time is wasted talking to coworkers about a project? Most of our communications are meaningless. Cut out any extraneous communications during the day (that includes those hours you waste on Facebook and Twitter), and you’ll feel more in control of your life.
5. Organization Is Essential
If you’re disorganized, you can expect to waste time. That wasted time comes directly out of your personal life, not your work life. Get organized (both on the job and at home). The more organized you are, the more free time and flexibility you’ll enjoy both at work and at home.
If you follow these five simple tips, you’ll be able to make drastic improvements in your work/life balance and regain control over your own destiny.
Stress enters our lives from any number of places, relationships and situations, but the most common source is the workplace. If you’re feeling frazzled and stressed out at just the thought of heading into the office, there are some things you can do to kick that stress out the window. While there’s no surefire way to remove workplace stress completely (that would require you to work in a vacuum), there are quite a few steps you can take to at least minimize the situation.
If you’re like most of us, your blood is really 90% coffee. However, experts have determined that’s actually a huge contributor to workplace stress. While coffee (and other sources of caffeine) certainly give you that jolt to get you going in the morning, the situation is more complicated. You get an adrenaline boost, but caffeine suppresses your body’s natural relaxant production (a chemical called adenosine). This automatically makes you more susceptible to stress. Cut out the coffee (or at least cut down your consumption).
Get Out of the Office for Lunch
If you’re one of those who hangs around the office for your lunch break, you’ll find a lot of benefits in getting outside for a bit. You might consider eating lunch out, or if you can’t afford to or prefer to pack your lunch for health benefits, eat it outside on the grounds of the business. Getting fresh air and sunshine, plus putting a little distance between you and the job, can do wonders for your stress levels.
Take Breaks and Stretch
A lot of emotional stress is actually brought on by physical stimulus. If you spend most of your day hunched over a computer, make time to get up and stretch throughout the day. Most experts recommend getting up and taking a break about once per hour. Walk around the office, up and down the stairs, or just around your desk a few times. You’ll get your blood flowing and heart rate up, and that can do a lot of good for your stress levels. You should also take mini breaks (20 seconds per 20 minutes of typing, for instance).
A lot of the stress you’re feeling might not be due to external forces, but to something that your body’s missing. Vitamin C and B vitamins have been proven to reduce anxiety. Invest in a good multivitamin that contains high levels of vitamin C and all the B vitamins, and you might be surprised at just how much better you feel on a daily basis without having to do anything else.
Physical exercise is one of the best ways to beat stress (both physical and emotional). Physical exercise encourages your body to release endorphins, which automatically elevate your mood and make you feel better. Plus, there’s always the benefit of better physical health to be had as well.
Beating workplace stress is as simple as following these brief tips and making a few necessary changes in your daily routine.
We are all guilty of being glued to our computers and smartphones at the office. We work for hours on end, sitting in front of the glow of the screen without taking a break. When a person spends hours in one position working, they are not just hurting their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing. If you aren’t “taking five” at work periodically or even taking lunch breaks, here are a few reasons why you need to start doing so.
The Health Issue
Sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for the body. While you can buy a chair that is designed for maximum comfort for long workdays, you still need to get up and move around for your health. Just like on long plane flights, you need to move around for better circulation. Poor blood flow will only cause aches and pains in the body.
It might sound like a break won’t help with getting the job done. However, if you work for hours on end without a break, you might hit a few brick walls in the process. Breaks are key for actually getting things done. You become more productive if you take five minutes away from your job so the body and mind can refresh and tackle the task at hand.
Less Fatigue and Exhaustion
Our jobs can make us tired, especially we if never take a break from them. In today’s digital age, it can be difficult to unplug from the office. However, if you don’t get your mind and body away from your desk, you will only grow more fatigued and exhausted. Exhaustion can lead to other health problems down the road.
Jobs are stressful. We have deadlines to meet and tasks to accomplish. If you sit all day focusing on these tasks, your stress levels will build up. The mind and body need a break from work to avoid getting too stressed about projects, meetings, and to-do lists. Stress isn’t just mental, either. It can lead to physical health problems.
Recharge Internal Resources
When you don’t take breaks at work, your mind can never really recharge from the work you are doing. You need to detach yourself from work to recharge those batteries again. Walking around or simply taking a lunch break helps the cognitive resources to recharge.
Focus on the Big Picture
Many of us are guilty of getting lost in our work. We fail to see the big picture as a result. When you don’t take a break at work, you can lose perspective. Your relationships outside of the office can suffer, in addition to your health. A break at work helps you to see the bigger picture beyond the computer screen.
You might be working hard all day at your job, but that work isn’t always the best. Your product can suffer when you don’t take breaks. Fatigue can cause mistakes and errors that could be threatening to your job. Breaks allow you to catch mistakes more easily and produce a better product.