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Does your desk need a makeover?

Are you noticing neck and back pain, sore wrists and fingers, blurred vision, or headaches? It might be time for a makeover. Office ergonomics is something we are all aware of, but can easily be overlooked. Slight changes over time can start to add up leading to pain and discomfort.

Here is a quick checklist to review your ergonomic state:

□ Chair – supports your spinal curves, adjusted so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor, armrests adjusted so your arms gently rest on them and shoulders are relaxed.

□ Footrest – If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor — or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest.

□ Key objects – such as your telephone, stapler, or printed materials — close to minimize reaching. Stand up to reach anything that can’t be comfortably reached while sitting.

□ Keyboard and mouse – Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use.

□ Telephone – If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck.

□ Desk – Under the desk, make sure there’s clearance for your knees, thighs, and feet. If the desk is too high raise your chair. Use a footrest to support your feet as needed. If your desk has a hard edge, pad the edge or use a wrist rest. Don’t store items under your desk.

□ Monitor – Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be directly behind your keyboard. If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor an additional 1 to 2 inches for more comfortable viewing. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.

□ Lighting – Make sure there is an adequate amount of light. According to experts, a normal office space should have 300 – 500 lux of illumination and include natural daylight. Reduce dark shadows and glare which cause illumination imbalance, forcing your eye muscles to contract and expand constantly to adapt to each area. Adjust your monitor to find the right color contrast that provides the best visibility. The insufficient color distinction between the foreground and background of your screens can contribute significantly to digital eye strain.


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