Sometimes, working an office job can be a real pain. It’s not that I don’t like what I do, of course: On the contrary, I love working for one of the best cleaning services New York City has to offer. But while you wouldn’t think that office work would be physically taxing, sitting at a desk all day can really do a number on your body! Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize the negative effects and get through the work day unscathed.
Click, Clack, Ouch
Let’s face it: The human body wasn’t made to be sitting in a chair all day, squinting at a computer screen. If you’re not careful, you could end up with all sorts of health problems. The most well-known issue for office workers is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is what they call a repetitive strain injury, a category that also includes things like tennis elbow. Any repetitive motion can cause pain when you keep doing it for hours a day, every day, and in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, it comes from compressing the nerves in your wrists due to poor technique while using a computer. To prevent this issue, make sure to keep your wrists up when you type; if you find yourself resting your wrists on the desk, try getting a wrist rest to put in front of your keyboard. And make sure to keep your mousing hand relaxed: The mouse isn’t going to run away if you loosen your grip!
It’s not just your wrists that can end up hurting after a day sitting at your desk, though. Your neck, back, and eyes can all suffer if you don’t take care of them during the work day. To prevent neck and back pain, it’s important to position yourself correctly while you’re working. Let’s start with your feet and work our way up. First, adjust your chair so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are bent at a right angle. Now, sit up straight, and bend your elbows until your forearms are level with the floor: This is where your keyboard should be positioned, so that you can type with your hands at this height. (You might need to get a small shelf that installs below your desk to hold your keyboard if it’s too high.)
Now, position your computer monitor so that it’s about an arm’s length away from you, and adjust the height, propping it up on something sturdy if needed, so the top of the screen is just below eye level when you look straight ahead. This will help prevent eye strain, which can lead to headaches and neck pain, as well as eye irritation. Another important step to keeping your eyes healthy is to minimize glare, by lowering the window shades in your office or tinkering with the brightness settings of your monitor as needed. In addition, make sure to position items that you frequently use on your desk as close to you as possible in order to minimize reaching and straining that can lead to shoulder pain.
Establishing some good workplace habits can also help you stay healthy on the job. Having everything at your desk perfectly adjusted is a good start, but make sure that you keep your work area clean, too. After all, your desk can harbor germs that can make you sick, especially if you’re prone to eating lunch while you work. Make sure to give your desk, mouse, phone, and especially that ever-dirty keyword a good cleaning from time to time: Even if your office contracts for cleaning services, New York City office workers should tidy up after themselves. And every once in a while, give yourself a break: It’s not good for your body to be sitting still, staring at a screen for eight solid hours, so get up and walk around every hour or so to stretch out your joints and rest your eyes.