The correct ergonomics of equipment and postural exercises in the office are key to the health of workers.
Discomfort and pain are increasingly common in office workers and those who spend long hours at the computer. Poor posture, insufficient light or restricted mobility are some of the reasons why workers’ health is often affected.
In such cases, exercises are recommended for:
- Improving flexibility;
- Relaxing the muscles;
- Improving posture; and
- Stopping the overworking of joints.
Postural exercises in the office
Tighten and relax the back of the neck
- Slightly tilt your head back, keeping your back straight.
- Lower your chin to the chest.
Tension and extension of the lateral neck musculature.
- Gently tilt the head from left to right.
- To intensify the exercise, when leaning to the left, assist the movement with the left hand and push the free arm towards the ground.
- Then repeat with the right hand side.
- Gently turn the head from left to right.
- Do it again closing your eyes and tucking your chin to your chest.
- Raise and lower the shoulders while keeping the arms extended along your body.
- Add back and forth circular movements.
Stretching the waist
- Place your hands on the back of your neck and keep your back straight.
- Lateral bend at the waist and drop your left and right arms alternately.
Tighten and extend the shoulder blade muscles
- Place your arms at chest level, bend your elbows and position one forearm above the other.
- Pull your elbows as far back as possible and return to the starting position.
Office equipment ergonomics
Relaxation and stretching intervals not only improve the posture and well-being of workers but also productivity. Many offices have started to incorporate a posture and ergonomics consultancy service for office employees.
In other words, studying, designing and correcting the working environment to improve the mobility, posture and health conditions of workers.
The equipment used must meet basic requirements to ensure ergonomic quality in order to reduce postural discomfort caused by the work:
- Top edge of monitor at eye level or slightly below.
- Head/neck in upright position. Shoulders relaxed.
- Distance from keyboard to edge of table >10 cm for forearm support.
- Arms and forearms at 90° or slightly more.
- Mouse/input devices close to the keyboard.
- Arms, wrists and hands in a straight line.
- Legs and thighs at 90° or slightly more.
- Elbows close to the body.
- Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- Thighs and back at 90º or slightly more.
- Ground clearance between the edge of the seat and knees.
HSN recommendations for office work.
Some of the principal aspects that offices take into account when equipping and advising are:
- The upright position of the spine.
- The screen must be facing straight towards the user, avoiding the need to turn the neck to view it.
- The arms must be supported so that they do not have to exert additional effort.
- Mobility in front of the work table must be sufficient.
- The position of the keyboard and mouse must be adequate.
- The noise, air conditioning, lighting and air quality must provide a healthy environment free from stress or discomfort.
- Interpersonal distances.
- Adequate acoustic conditions.
Frequent short breaks help prevent physical, mental and visual fatigue, and also reduce the risk of stress.
Postural counselling programmes
- They comprise continuous training meetings, consisting of ergonomic theory, practice of postural exercises and relaxation.
- Although they depend on the company, in general they are short meetings that do not exceed 45 minutes.
- They are adaptable to office hours.
- Workers should wear comfortable clothes that allow them full freedom to perform the postural exercises in the office.
- It takes place in the same work environment or in spaces provided by the company.
While time at work can often be stressful and detrimental to body position, small intervals of simple exercise can alleviate discomfort and improve the health of employees
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