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3 Ways Your Office Desk is Hurting More than Your Productivity

Posted on May 6, 2016, by Michael Eckert

How many hours every day do you spend in the office? And how many of those are spent at your desk? For many of us, our desk is where we spend the majority of our waking hours. But is your desk setup damaging your productivity – and worse, your health?

Today I’m looking at 3 ways your work setup might be affecting your physical and mental wellness – and in turn, your productivity.

1) Desk Setup

Your desk setup is crucial for your comfort, health and productivity at work. You need to be able to adjust your workstation to meet your physical needs – for example, to avoid neck strain when using your computer or making notes, or to avoid back problems from slouching to get closer to your screen.

The ideal height for your desk is one that allows you to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your wrists straight when typing. You also want your computer screen to be appropriately located – not too close, and not too far away – to avoid eye strain. The ideal viewing distance is 15-30 inches.

Take a look at this infographic which shows the ideal set up for seated (and standing) working to avoid health problems.

2) Chair Setup

On average an office worker spends 5 hours and 41 minutes every day seated at work, so an ergonomic chair is a must. But in order to be comfortable and adopt a posture that is best for your health, you need to get your chair set-up correctly.

You need to drop your chair to a height where you can have your feet flat on the floor – or if that’s not practical, get a foot rest that you can rest flat-footed on. Many people fall into the trap of balancing their feet on the foot of their chair, or just resting their toes on the floor, but these postures are bad for your circulation.

You also need a chair that provides adequate lower back support – and make sure that you’re sitting properly, with your back upright against the back of the chair, rather than leaning forward or back.

3) Too Much Sitting

Sitting down for long periods of time damages your body, and even if you’re hitting the gym after work, it’s not enough to counteract the damage done. A 2013 study found that the amount of time spent sitting could be a major factor for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and other studies have shown that the risk of heart failure increases with more time spent sitting down.

In the majority of workplaces, though, this is how we spend our days. And as well as affecting our health, sitting in one place for long periods of time affects productivity levels.

This is part of the reason behind the increasing popularity of sit-to-stand working: the transition between sitting and standing is enough to give you a fresh perspective on the task at hand, boosting focus and productivity. It also means that employees are able to shift their posture to reduce discomfort while working, with fewer aches and pains to cause distractions.

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Topics: Health & Wellness

Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert