Most of us will spend at least a third of our lives working – an average of 90,000 hours in a lifetime. Here are five ways to create a safer and healthier working space for you
For many of us, work means sitting at a desk in front of our computers for up to 8 hours a day – perhaps even more. Many desk set-ups can have negative impacts on our health, particularly our backs and necks, but using the principles of ergonomics, we can create a work environment which doesn’t compromise our health. By designing our workspace properly, we can avoid and reduce aches and pains, improve our blood circulation and increase comfort levels.
1. Find your neutral posture: Ensuring spine support is the first step. Try to have a comfortable chair where your spine is supported slightly at an angle, similar to sitting in a car. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Your computer screen should be positioned at eye level – as this creates the least amount of strain for your head and neck. Arms and wrists should also be in a neutral position to relieve any stress on the nerves and tendons. Learn more about how to set up your desk ergonomically here.
2. Accessorise your space: When working at a desk, try using a monitor riser or laptop stand to lengthen your spine. Using an external keyboard and mouse can also prevent us from hunching over our laptops in a “turtle” position. Try a standing desk or a wellness ball to reduce spinal strain and engage your core from time to time. Headphones are helpful to block out noise distractions and footrests keep our feet flat on the floor. Browse through other ergonomic accessories to bring comfort into your workspace.
3. Create a “bubble” area: Keeping a clean and tidy desk is easier said than done. Try to keep only essential items you need within reach. Store other books, notes, papers, and receipts in an organised and categorical way so when you need them, they’re easy to find. Peruse our golden rules on our new ways of working to protect our colleagues and customers for when you are back at the office.
4. Proper lighting Blurred vision? Seeing double? Watery and itchy eyes? Irritation caused by eye strain in poor lighting can have damaging effects and even exacerbate existing eye conditions. Fear not, here are two things you can do to minimise eye strain. Firstly, the amount of light coming from your screen should not be so bright that it “washes out” everything around you. Secondly, if you have a window in your office space, the sunlight coming through should not be in your field of view. Try to avoid glare as much as possible.
5. Add in greenery: Being in a work environment surrounded by plants has been proven to reduce stress and increase creativity. Plants also circulate and clean the air, filtering out dust and pollutants, leading to fewer sick days. Here are 10 plants you can’t kill to spruce up your workspace.