Ergonomic Office Furniture Tips

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Do you have an ergonomic computer desk and accessories?

Ergonomic Computer Furniture

Ergonomic computer furniture is becoming more and more important as the Internet Age continues and people spend increasing amounts of time on the computer for business and personal use. A common source of neck pain is computer screens placed at the incorrect height. The screen should be elevated to eye level so you do not have to bend your neck and look downward.

Wrist and forearm pain often stems from having to hold them in locked positions above a mouse or keyboard. The wrist and forearm need to be relaxed or you will start to feel both joint and muscular pain that could become chronic.

So if you want to create an ergonomic office environment, it does not stop with a nice chair. Computer desks need to have an elevated platform for screens so that they are at eye level. If you use a laptop, there are inexpensive shelf-like products that will lift the computer to the proper height for you. Then use a wireless keyboard and mouse and you will notice your neck is much more comfortable.

For the wrist and forearm, ergonomic gel pads can be placed in front of the keyboard and mouse for your wrist to lay on while typing or moving the mouse. This allows your wrist to relax, relieving the tension that builds up all the way through the forearm to the elbow without these gel pads.

A truly ergonomic design of the office environment includes computer desks just as much as it does office chairs.

Does your chair fit your height and body type?

Chair Angle & Height

A common misconception is that there is one ergonomic position that you should sit in all the time to avoid things like carpal tunnel, back or neck problems. The truth is, there are several positions that are good to sit in, but staying in any one of them for too long can be just as bad as being in the wrong position.

Your muscles can lock in any position and get stiff if you stay like that for too long. So you want to pick up office chairs that can accommodate several postures. After an hour or so you'll probably want to slightly adjust the way you are sitting to get more comfortable.

By getting a chair that can be adjusted to different back/seat angles and heights, you can avoid physical ailments. While there are certain things you never want to do, like hunch your shoulders forward over a keyboard or slouch, make sure you do not stay in any one position for too long, even the ergonomic ones.

Sometimes it helps to set a timer or desk alarm for every hour or so. When it goes off, get up and stretch, and then adjust the angle/position you are sitting in to keep your muscles loose.

Do you have neck and back pain from sitting at your desk all day?


People that typically have chronic back and neck pain are those that sit at a desk for several hours a day without the proper support. That is why it is important to get yourself a chair that reclines. It does not have to be a fully reclining chair or sofa like the one you might have in your living room. You do not need cup holders built in to the arms. But it should be able to provide some reclining flexibility so you can take a break and relax your muscles.

If you sit at a desk all day long, your body needs breaks here and there. You should take anywhere from five to 15 minutes every hour or two to stretch the muscles. Stand up and walk around for a few minutes, even if it is just around your office. Stretch your legs and back.

A chair that reclines allows you to relax your back and stretch a little bit, whenever needed, without having to leave your desk. Many chairs today can be ordered with a built-in head rest, too. This supports the head and neck, curbing chronic neck pain that is common among people who spend extended periods of time sitting at desks.

Your chair is the fist place to start when creating an ergonomic office environment.

Do you feel relaxed or rigid in your office chair?

Relaxed Posture

While good posture is a large part of ergonomics, there is something called too much of a good thing. When sitting at your desk, you want to avoid sitting in an upright and very rigid position for extended periods of time.

The whole point of an ergonomic design in an office environment is to be comfortable, able to do your work efficiently and avoid pain or discomfort. If you find yourself so rigid that your back or neck becomes stiff, you are trying too hard.

It is best to use office furniture that can be adjusted and put in relaxed yet supportive positions so that the muscles in your legs, back, neck and shoulders can stay relaxed while maintaining good posture at the same time. After a while, you will not even notice that you are in ergonomic positions all day long. It becomes a habit. A good habit. The right furniture and support turns it into a matter of muscle memory, so that you maintain good habits and posture whether you are at your desk or walking around in your home.

What size chair is right for you?

All Shapes & Sizes

While ergonomic chairs have many adjustable functions, size is still something to consider. Standard office chairs will usually just come in one size, whereas ergonomic office chairs are usually offered in several different ones.

Manufacturers recognize that not everyone's body type is the same and that people of all shapes and sizes need comfortable and supportive chairs. Adjustable features are great, but they may only be able to be adjusted so far. There are limitations.

So before you make a purchase, check to see if there are different size options available. Choose the one that best suits your body type. It will then be easier to adjust things like arm height, seat height and depth, back angle, head rest height and more.

If you are not sure what size would be the best starting point for you, ask a customer service representative for help. They should be able to tell you what size is right based on your height, weight and other physical markers.

Does your chair have all the features you need?

Not All Chairs Are Made The Same

Not all chairs are built the same. So before you make a purchase, take a minute to examine the product carefully. Certain features like tilt-control are only available on ergonomic office chairs as opposed to standard chairs. But not every ergonomic feature is built into every ergonomic chair.

Typically, furniture that comes loaded with all the best features will be more expensive, but it is completely worth it to avoid back spasms, carpal tunnel and a host of other ailments. But pay close attention, and ask questions if you are not sure. Do not assume that just because a chair is labeled as ergonomic that it has all the features you have heard about or read up on.

Is the depth of the seat back adjustable? Is the height of the arms adjustable? Does it come with improved lumbar support? A chair might only have some, or maybe only one of these features. You may have to spend a little extra to get all these things in one office chair, but it will be well worth it, and you'll notice that improvement the second you sit down in your new chair.

Do you use a foot rest when sitting at your desk?

Foot Rests

There are many types of ergonomic furniture. One often overlooked item is the foot rest. Sitting at a desk all day, whether you are typing on a computer or writing by hand and answering phones, a foot rest can be a big help.

For one thing, it helps keep your back, hips and shoulders aligned. Foot rests promote good posture by eliminating the need to cross your legs, slouch or sit at angles that can cause physical pain. Peruse the Internet for affordable ergonomic foot rests, or make your own.

You can try using a phonebook, shoebox or anything that will allow you to keep your feet in a comfortable position without hurting the rest of your body. Some office chairs come specially designed to include an attached foot rest. If you really want to treat yourself, you can look for an ergonomic foot rest that doubles as a foot massager. Just because you are at work does not mean you cannot indulge a little bit.

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Barbara Gibson