A new view of ergonomics

We’re all told that sitting at a desk all day is bad for our health but, for many of us, it’s an unavoidable part of daily working life. 

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We can take steps to improve our seated posture with ergonomic adjustments which stress lumbar support in your chair, positioning screens at eye level, supporting the forearms when using a keyboard and so on. But the reality is that maintaining any position, even an ‘ergonomically correct’ position, can over-stress the body.

 

So, although it won’t be surprising to hear that we don’t recommend sitting in the same position for extended periods of time, sometimes we need to discourage people from going in the opposite direction and standing all day.

Neither sitting nor standing is a problem in and of itself - it’s the length of time in one position that’s the issue. And everyone is different in the way their body responds to different postures so there isn’t one “perfect” way to sit or stand - it’s different for everyone. 

It is much better to introduce postural variability - switching between sitting, standing and moving around in the course of a working day, ensuring our body changes position frequently.

The ideal situation would be to also include a number of different chairs and vary them through the course of the day or week as well. The current trend for hot-desking promotes this, as do organisations which have ‘break out areas’ and who encourage employees to work in communal areas, away from their desks.

Regardless of our company’s policies, we can take matters into our own hands and make sure we include postural variability in our working days, by standing up and taking regular walks around the office and doing a variety of stretches throughout the day.

Photo credit: Bench Accounting on Unsplash