Designing Your Office Space

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The way that your office is designed can have an effect on whether or not you succeed. Many people have so much on their mind that they don't take the time to think about how simple changes in the office and the work day can make a business endeavor more comfortable and more successful. Consider the tips below to avoid difficulties from the very beginning.

Repetitive stress injuries, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, can arise from long-term computer use. If you feel any aching, numbing, or tingling in your neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, or fingers, consult a qualified health professional. To prevent the onset of these symptoms, structure your day and your office so as to avoid certain risks (Visit Web MD for more information.)

Arranging Your Space

  • Locate your desk away from high-traffic areas.
  • Keep the area under your desk clear.
  • Don't place your monitor in front of a window.
  • Use window shades to reduce glare.
  • Arrange reference materials for easy access.
  • Place monitor at eye level.
  • Place screen 18 to 30 inches from your eyes.
  • Place your notes next to the screen.
  • Keep your screen clean.
  • Use high-contrast, natural screen colors.
  • Keep the mouse close to the keyboard.

Lighting

When you work on a computer, the light level should be dimmer than when you work with paper. If you work with both, choose relatively dim room lighting plus an adjustable reading lamp that you can use for paperwork.

Glare

Angle the reading lamp away from your eyes and away from the monitor so that you can't see the unshaded light bulb and so there is no glare on the monitor screen.

Reflections

Remove any reflective materials--such as glass desk pads and picture frames--from around your monitor to avoid distracting reflections. Also, try tilting your monitor downward, or re-position it on your desk, to eliminate reflections.

Body Mechanics Make A Difference

  • Sit comfortably without twisting.
  • Avoid excessive reaching and twisting.
  • Use a light touch to click and grip.
  • Press keys and hold the mouse gently.
  • Use a palm rest when not typing.
  • Rest your palms and wrists. (not on the desk edge)
  • Change your posture.
  • Maintain good back support.
  • Keep your wrists straight.
  • Use foot and leg support.

Structuring Your Day

  • Take frequent breaks during the work day.
  • Do a variety of tasks throughout the day.
  • Alternate among several different types of tasks.
  • Let your body recover while you remain productive.

Don't Stand for It!

Some jobs require that you stand all day or for long periods of time. Be smart when you stand and follow the tips below:

  • Be sure to change your posture & position frequently.
  • Stand on an anti-fatigue mat to reduce becoming tired.
  • Move around during the day. (i.e. take a walk break)
  • Stretch your muscles to avoid soreness.
  • Exercise. (consider those outlined below)

Are You Sitting Down?

If so, take care of yourself. Read on to find out how:

  • Your chair should support your lower back. Adjust chair height so seat back contacts the most-curved part of your back. (Use a pillow if needed)
  • Adjust arm rests (if any) so you don't have to hunch your shoulders or slouch down in your chair to use the armrests comfortably.
  • Use a footrest, if needed, to reduce fatigue in your legs.
  • Be sure your upper arms drop naturally to your sides, so that your shoulders are not shrugging.
  • Raise your chair or lower the table as needed.
  • Place hands above the keyboard, with elbows at 90-degree angles.
  • Extend hands straight from the forearm, keeping your wrists straight.
  • Curl your fingers under slightly.
  • Having the forearm supported may be comfortable when using a mouse.

Exercise For A Healthy Work Day

  • During your rest breaks, try these exercises to help you feel refreshed. Don't do any exercise that feels uncomfortable or causes strain.
    • Deep breathing: relieves muscle tension.
    • Hand and finger massage: reduces cramping or stiffness and warms your hands.
    • The "Executive Stretch". Clasp your hands behind your head and gently stretch your elbows back, taking in a deep breath as you stretch back.
    • Shoulder shrug: reduces tension or stiffness in the upper back and neck. Gently raise your shoulders up toward your ears and then relax your shoulders downward.
    • Foot rotations: improves circulation to your legs and feet. While seated, rotate each ankle three times clockwise, then counter-clockwise.
    • Yawning and blinking: keeps the eyes lubricated.
    • Changing focus: relaxes the muscles of your eyes. With your arm stretched in front of you, look at your fingertips, then at a point far away from you, then back to your fingertips.
    • Palming: helps to overcome eyestrain. Support your head in your hands, with your eyes covered, while you breathe deeply.


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