When it comes to avoiding injuries and pain while typing, posture is everything. But how do you know what the right (and wrong) posture is? Here we give you the ins and outs on how to sit or stand correctly while you type.
The Importance of a Correct Posture
Posture at work might not seem that important – you sit down and type – but the damage you can do with an incorrect posture shouldn’t be understated. A poor posture can result in long-term injuries, even chronic pain that can impact on your quality of life and shorten your career.
Seated Posture for Typing
Follow these tips for the best posture for sitting at a computer.
Feet & Knees
It’s important to sit so that your feet are flat on the floor or resting on a footrest. Having your legs stretched out under the desk means your back isn’t getting the support it needs. Grounded feet are also the most comfortable way to sit for long periods. Your knees should be the same level of slightly lower than your hips.
The standard height for an office desk is 73-80 cm but the height should be determined by the user. Tall people need a higher chair so they can bend their knees at a right angle which may mean there is no clearance between their thighs and the desk. A higher desk may be needed so they can achieve the right knee and elbow angles.
Arms & Hands
Your forearms should be at the right angle to your desk, not angled up or down. You want your wrists to be in a neutral position while you type and the angle of your elbows to be 90-110 degrees. If your chair has arms, make sure you reposition the chair arms so your shoulders don’t sit high or scrunched instead of being relaxed.
Back and Shoulders
Sit right back in the chair so your lower back is supported by the chair. If you’re short and your thighs don’t finish a comfortable 10 cm from the edge of the chair, you may need a small office chair that has a shorter seat. Your back should remain vertically straight and in line with the back of your head.
Make sure your keyboard isn’t too far away that you need to reach for it which can force the shoulders to rotate inwards. Keep your shoulders back so you don’t suffer from rounded shoulders.
Your screen should be at eye level. If you’re looking down at a laptop screen, your neck muscles have to work harder to support your head. Looking up can cause neck muscles to shorten and strain. Make sure the monitor isn’t too far away that you’re head isn’t leaning forward as you strain to see the screen.
Maintaining the right posture, not only reduces the risks of repetitive strain injuries but also maximises productivity and boosts your respiratory system. It’s easy to let a good posture slip as the day drags on. Make a point of checking throughout the day that you’re sitting correctly.
The safest way to work at a computer all day is to alternate between the sitting and standing position. Invest in a good sit stand desk so that it’s quick and easy to change your workstation from the seated to standing position regularly. Ideally, spend at least 10 minutes of every hour standing to work or doing some stretches beside your desk.
If you start to feel pain in your neck or shoulder, don’t reach for the pain killers. Performing neck and shoulder stretches is more effective than taking medications.
For more information about ergonomic chairs, see our Ergonomic Office Chairs Buyers Guide – Part 1, Ergonomic Chairs Buyers Guide Part 2 – Task Chairs and Ergonomic Chairs Buyers Guide Part 3 – Mesh Chairs.
If you’re having problems maintaining a correct posture or you want some advice on whether your workstation is set up right for you, an occupational therapist can help.
For information about the right ergonomic equipment for you, contact an expert at ergolink