We spend so much of our working lives sitting at a desk, that it is crucial to find a comfortable seating position that will have a positive impact on our well-being.
Having bad posture can cause neck and back problems, as well as having links to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We have put together an easy to follow guide on how best to position yourself at your desk, to help keep you healthy and pain free for as long as possible.
How far should I be from the monitor?
Your eyes should be level with the top of your computer screen, which is easier to do when using a PC rather than a laptop. If you need to raise your monitor up to make the screen the perfect height, you can use monitor stands and risers, which will not only solve this problem, but will also create more desk space. Your screen should ideally be at arm's length when you are sitting back in your chair, so this is easy to measure. Sitting too close or too far away can cause eye strain, so it’s best to find a solution for this as soon as you can. An adjustable chair is ideal for when it comes to finding the best seating position.
How should I position my legs?
Once you have adjusted your chair to make your eyes level with the top of the screen, you will be able to see how far your feet are from the floor. Ideally they should be flat on the floor when you are seated. If they do not reach, it is suggested that you use an ergonomic footrest to lift them up. Your upper legs should be at a 90 degree angle from the body with your knees slightly lower than the hips, so if you are tall then you may need to have a higher chair and therefore a higher desk.
What position should my arms be?
Keep your lower arms parallel to the floor, with an L shape position at the elbow. They should be rested on a support, rather than being held up in mid air and should not be too far from your mouse or keyboard. Ensure that your shoulders are relaxed and low, rather than in a hunched position. Having bad posture can also affect your arms, causing repetitive strain injury as well as back pain and headaches.
How should I position my back?
Make sure that you keep your upper back straight and do not slouch. Your lower back has a natural curve to it, which should be supported by the chair. If you have an old chair, you may find that a back support cushion can make you feel more comfortable. Keep your hips as close to the back of the chair as possible, ensuring that you are not leaning to one side.
You may find that a standing desk works best for you, giving you the option of changing between a sitting or standing position throughout the day. They are height adjustable, easy to use and still have ample space for your computer and other desk accessories.
Checking that the surface of your desk is set up correctly can be a big help in sitting at it properly. Your phone and other desk items should all be within easy reach, so that you are not having to lean or stretch to get them. Leave a gap of around 4-6 inches at the front of your desk so that you have room for wrist rests.
Try to change your position every 30 minutes or so. Rather than try to reposition yourself in your chair, perhaps try taking a little walk and perform some stretches. This will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to sit comfortably for the next item on your to do list. Also, remember to keep your good posture when you get home, as this will ensure that you are feeling fit and ready for the next day in the office.