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Office Posture Tips for Back Awareness Week 2012

This week saw the annual return of BackCare Awareness Week with a new campaign launched to focus mainly on Builders Back Pain. It’s not just builders that suffer on a daily basis though, desk workers are massively affected too!

Back Pain

Back pain is torture and affects every day activities from sitting in office chairs, to standing for long periods of time, driving and even sleeping so make sure have the correct supporting mattress as well!

Bad Posture

We all know that maintaining good posture whilst sitting for long periods of time is essential to ensure we don’t cause any unnecessary lower back and neck pain, but if we’re honest, not many of us actually make sure we sit correctly.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips on how to maintain the correct posture in the office to help you keep the back pain at bay and your chiropractor bill at zero!

Bad Postureimage credit

Bad posture is one of the number one reasons why many suffer with back pain but a few simple adjustments to the way you sit can help relieve the pain:

  • Don’t perch on your chair! Sit back in your chair at all times and make sure your back is actually touching the chair.
  • Do not slouch! Too much slouching can result in the loss of your inward curve in the lumbar area of your back which can then cause excessive strain on your lumbar discs.  Position your chair closer to the desk to minimise this and improve your posture.
  • Try and sit in an office chair that is fully adjustable. For example, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair or the BMA Axia Chair are among many ergonomically designed to give superior comfort and body support helping you keep the perfect posture for long periods of time.

Adjust the Height of your Chair

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Both the height of your chair and the position of the armrests can have an effect on the correct posture position.

  • Try to keep your feet flat on the floor at all times.
  • Never cross your legs as it makes it difficult to keep your spine straight and shoulders squared.  It can also slow down blood flow.
  • If you’ve made these adjustments and you are still not comfortable, try adding a footrest.
  • If your knees are higher than your hips then you need to raise the height of either your office desk if possible or chair.
  • Your elbows should be quite close to your sides… if your chair is forcing your arms and elbows outwards then it’s not the right chair for you.

Screen Height

Incorrect screen heights can cause both neck and back pain:

  • The top of your computer screen/monitor should be level with your eyes.
  • If the monitor isn’t adjustable, simply place a sturdy box or books underneath it until you find the correct height.
  • If you have to constantly look up or down this adds stress to your neck and back.

Whilst all the above tips are important, you also need to take regular breaks from your workstation and flex a muscle or two! Set an hourly calendar reminder and take a walk around the office to stretch your body for 5 minutes.  A few shoulder rolls won’t go a miss either as they can greatly reduce the pressure on your spinal disks which in turn boosts circulation leaving you more limber!

Office Exercise

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We don’t suggest the whole office takes part in a daily exercise class like this one but a few simple neck and shoulder exercises whilst walking around and a few desk exercises whilst sitting down will certainly help increase flexibility and productivity!

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