Upgrade Your Office Ergonomics | Valet.



Ergonomics has an odd reputation. Somehow it’s been filtered into corporate jargon to make employees feel better about sitting in front of their computers for hours on end without complaining. Let’s take a minute to reflect … How are you reading this right now. Hunched over your laptop or phone? Shoulders pinned to your ears? Perhaps in an under-lit room, on a bright screen? An odd pain in your butt, that maybe you’re just now noticing because I’ve mentioned it? Yeah, all of those small things drastically impact both your physical and mental state when working. More specifically, staying in this static posture or position could lead to back, neck and shoulder injuries. Not to mention a lack of focus and productivity.

Mark R. McLaughlin, MD is an expert in the field of ergonomics and describes it as the science of being concerned with how our environment interacts with our work. Ergonomics is about looking for ways to adjust our surroundings to decrease the risks to our health, while improving the quality and output of our work life. Now that sounds a bit better, right? Your work environment is both physical as well as mental’how you feel about your work environment. So how can we improve upon both as many of us continue to work from home?

The University of Cincinnati, headed by Kermit Davis, Ph.D. (an expert in office ergonomics at the university), recently completed a study and developed several specific recommendations on how to improve your ergonomics at home. Dr. Davis says that while there are specific products designed to address this area, there’s also plenty of low- or no-cost options available.


HAG Capisco Chair

This bizarre-looking, but award-winning chair offers a multitude of sitting options.

Capisco Chair,
$829 by HÅG

Move Around
or Take Breaks

It’s good to have a break (aim for every thirty to forty-five minutes) built-in to your workflow. Getting up and moving around will ensure you minimize injury to your back, shoulders and arms. “The body doesn’t like static postures continually,” says Davis, ”You don’t want to do all sitting or all standing all the time. You want to alter your position and change it up throughout the day.”

HAG Capisco Chair

This bizarre-looking, but award-winning chair offers a multitude of sitting options.

Capisco Chair,
$829 by HÅG

Sit Up Straight

A hunched or rounded back puts unnecessary pressure on your shoulders, forearms, wrists and lower back. Move your chair closer to the desk in order to encourage sitting upright with your back against the seat back. It doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable 90 degrees. Your goal is to maintain the normal “S” shaped curve of the spine. You’re looking for a position that allows you to see the screen while sitting back in a way that provides support. It’s likely similar to how you sit in the driver’s seat of a car, slightly leaning back.

Raise Your Screen

The screen and keyboard on laptops are smaller than a standard office computer. And even those newer, low-profile computers sit low nowadays. As a result, you are essentially forced to look down because the screen is below eye level. If your computer is too low, use a large book or riser to raise it up to eye level. That will prevent neck and eye strain.

MOFT Laptop Stand

Laptop stand,
$24.99 by MOFT

Purple Game-Changers Seat Cushion

Game-Changers seat cushion,
$129 by Purple

Position Your Hands

You want your hands and wrists in a comfortable, neutral position, similar to your spine. And you want to make sure that the weight of your arms is supported at all times. If they’re not, the muscles in your neck and shoulders start working overtime. Extend your arm and hand forward to lay them flat on the desk or table. The hand, wrist and forearms should be practically flush, which is what you want. What you don’t want is a hinge at the wrist. Dr. Davis recommends placing a pillow or specific ergonomic pad on your seat to elevate the seat height or wrapping your chair’s armrests if they’re too low and not adjustable.

Purple Game-Changers Seat Cushion

Game-Changers seat cushion,
$129 by Purple





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