How to improve wellness at work

In an ideal world, we would work in spaces that inspire collaboration, cultivate creativity, and facilitate the use of mobile technology. There is a revolution happening here in the UAE where we are moving away from static workspaces that were designed from a functional perspective, towards workspaces adapted to the humans that use them.

If your work space isn’t ergonomically advanced, there are small changes you can make to your space and behaviour to improve your comfort, reduce neck and back pain, reduce eye strain and improve your performance. Alan McDonald, Managing Director, Middle East & North Africa at Humanscale, a world leader in design and manufacture of high-performance ergonomic products, explains how to ensure you stay in peak condition at work:

1. Frequent breaks: Stand up from your desk every 45 minutes and spend 2 minutes walking around the office. You are not designed to sit all day. You can have the best ergonomic equipment in the world, but if you don’t use it properly it will make no difference.

2. Talk don’t type: Stand up while you’re on the phone and go and see people at their desks instead of emailing them. Not only will it improve circulation it’ll improve colleague relations and reduce chances of mistakes.

3. Screen position: Ensure your screen is properly angled toward you and at eye level. Move your screen to meet your eyes rather than moving your head to meet your screen. This will do wonders for back and neck pain. Your screen should be at arm’s length from you.

4. Eye level: Ensure the top of the screen is about eye level. You can easily fix this by either lowering your chair or getting yourself a monitor arm. If you’re using an iPad or a tablet, place it on a surface rather than holding it.

5. Joint support: Support your elbows and wrists. No support can end in headaches and neck pain. You can do this with the arms of your chair, leaning your elbows on your desk and obtaining a simple wrist support.

6. The chair: You should have your knees at around 90 degrees and your feet should be resting flat on the floor or on a footrest. You should have a chair which isn’t rigid at your back, sit back and take the support of your chair aiming for between 5-10 degrees. This eases any tension and massively improves core strength.

7. The desk: As an alternative, many people are switching to standing desks, but standing all day isn’t the answer either. Research has linked health risks with both sitting and standing for prolonged periods, so find a balance between sitting and standing throughout the day. Switching between seated and standing postures periodically is not only good for energy and productivity, but for overall health. Studies have shown incorporating extended periods of standing into your day can burn calories, have a positive impact on wellbeing and prevent diseases such as heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.

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