With many organisations still continuing with a hybrid work system, many employees are still mostly working from home. That has created an increasing issue of backaches due to poor home office set-ups or sitting posture.
In this article, we will explore ten back-damaging ways that computer users do to themselves.
1. Not investing in an ergonomic office chair
This is by far the most important aspect of this list, with many individuals overlooking its importance. We spend more hours seated at our desks as compared to our beds during the weekdays. Hence, it is imperative that we invest in a good office chair that not only feels comfortable but also is ergonomically friendly. An ergonomic office chair will support your body alignment, reducing significant stress and pressure on your spine, back, shoulders, neck, and arms, making your work hours incredibly comfortable.
2. Sitting on the edge of your seat
Such a sitting posture keeps your body always in suspense, which causes unnecessary weight and pressure on your shoulders, spine, and neck to keep you balanced. Furthermore, such a posture causes you to slump over your desk, which increases pressure and weight on the mentioned areas. Optimise your chair backrest by sitting with your posterior and shoulder blades tucked comfortably against it.
Slouching happens when the monitor or the laptop is not at eye level, resulting in the need to bend over. While it may seem “comfortable” at the start, maintaining such a posture for a prolonged period can cause tension headaches and stiff necks, which can be made worse by unnecessary muscle tension at the back of the neck. Your monitor should be at least one arm’s length away from you at eye level.
4. Hanging your head while working
This is a bad habit that most people are guilty of. Also known as the forward head posture, you see that happening when we look at our phones on the train or when we are making sure we are pressing the right keys when we type on our keyboard.
An average adult’s head weighs approximately 5kg. For every inch our head bends forward, the weight doubles due to gravitational force. In the end, you might end up carrying up to an equivalent weight of 22kg. This forward head posture exerts pressure on our necks, shoulders, and upper back.
5. Working on a laptop
Laptops are not designed to be ergonomically friendly. Because of its size and portability, most people will find themselves slouching over to look at the screen. In addition, the screen and keyboard are closed together, resulting in the sacrifice of healthy ergonomic practice.
Hence, try using an external mouse and keyboard so that your elbows can maintain a healthy 90-degree angle while your laptop monitor is arm’s length away from you. Also, you might want to consider getting a laptop raiser to bring your laptop monitor up to eye level.
6. Being in the same seated position for too long
Studies have shown that sitting still for more than twenty minutes significantly lowers the flexibility and motion range of your ligaments and tendons, causing back aches. An ergonomic office chair does not save you from this. We recommend that you rotate between sitting and standing every 20 to 30 minutes. You might want to use those moments standing up to move around and stretch your body, relaxing your muscle tissues, lubricating your joints, and improving blood circulation. Not only will it keep your body limber, but it will also prevent you from falling asleep during working hours. Consider investing in a height-adjustable desk which can be raised and lowered.
7. Tucking your feet
It might be tempting to sit with your legs tucked or crossed under your thighs while working. While it might feel comfortable, doing so can cause your body to subconsciously bend forward to support your body weight. As a result, your equilibrium is affected, causing your spine to curve accordingly. It is also not recommended to cross your ankles or legs. The correct way of sitting is having your feet planted firmly on the ground, with your knees at a 90-degree angle. If you cannot reach the ground, consider investing in a footrest.
8. Twisting your waist
It commonly happens when one is multi-tasking, which causes unnecessary pressure to be exerted on the lower spine, resulting in a twisted back if one is not careful. It is best that your office chair can roll and pivot so that you are able to turn your entire body to face whatever you are working on.
9. Poor positioning of the hand
There is an ergonomically friendly way of using the keyboard and mouse. Prolonged raising and bracing of your shoulders while using your keyboard and mouse causes strain on your shoulders and back. To prevent it, ensure that your shoulders, hands, and wrists are in a neutral position. When moving your mouse, move your arm and not just your wrist.
10. Messy table
It is vital that you keep your desk clutter-free, only leaving the essentials on your desk. Working on a messy desk not only makes it hard for you to focus on the task at hand, but your posture is affected when you have to constantly reach out to get your stuff. It is ideal to have everything you need for the task at hand within an arm’s reach, minimising unnecessary stretching or bending over.
Now that we have explored the ten common back-damaging ways computer users do to themselves, now is the time to assess your current work set-up and make necessary changes to it. With that being said, TakeAseat offers an incredible range of affordable ergonomic products at our Ubi furniture shop in the East and Woodlands furniture shop in the North. Do not hesitate to visit us to test out for yourself the difference when using ergonomic products.