Feng Shui is about creating spaces that harmonize body, mind and spirit. Borrowing from the science of ergonomics in the service of physical harmony is fine. Sitting at a desk or computer for long hours is very fatiguing. If your body is not in natural, supported alignment you can experience back pain, stiff muscles, headache and eye strain.
A simple way to adjust your workspace for your best ergonomics is: E² = MCK
Ergonomic Equation = Monitor (or laptop screen), Chair, and Keyboard.
Starting from the ground up:
A $1500 status chair, all by itself, is not the solution to back problems. To prevent leg cramps and low back pain:
- Your chair should allow your feet to rest flat on the floor,
- With your ankles, knees and hips at approximately 90º or right angles.
- The chair seat should be shallow enough for your feet to be flat on the floor while your back is supported.
- It should be deep enough to support your thighs without the seat edge pressing into the back of your knees.
- A chair on wheels with a five-point base is the safest.
- Is there enough firm cushioning to feel comfortable?
And while you are adjusting your chair for optimum comfort, this is a good time to clear out the jumble underneath your desk and make room for your feet.
To avoid having your shoulders hunched while you work (a major source of muscle tension):
- Your keyboard should be at a level that allows your shoulders to relax and your elbows bend at a 90º angle.
- For most people this means an articulating keyboard tray or adjustable keyboard stand. A keyboard drawer may not provide you with the adjustable height that fits you.
- If you work with a laptop, you may need a standard keyboard that you connect to your laptop. The keyboard tray should be wide enough to hold your computer mouse and allow you to maneuver it easily.
3. Monitor or Laptop Screen
To avoid neck pain and headaches:
- Have your computer screen adjusted so your head is balanced and not thrust forward.
- Ergonomic engineers recommend the top of the computer screen be on the same level as your eyes when you are seated at your desk and looking straight ahead. The center of the screen should be 15º below that and the bottom of the screen should be 30º below eye level.
- This allows for a slightly downward gaze that is less fatiguing for your eyes and can minimize dry eyes – because your eyes are not wide open.
- This means your computer screen should be 3-4 or more inches above your desk.
- You may require an adjustable monitor or laptop stand or simply a box, phone book or ream of paper to elevate your computer screen.
- If you are short when seated or wear bi-focals, you may not need to elevate your computer screen.
- The screen itself should be about an arm’s length from where you are sitting.
- If you find yourself squinting or leaning forward or back to see better, you might want to use the often overlooked “zoom” function on your computer’s tool bar and adjust the font size to one that is easy to read.
- Avoid positioning your computer screen or keyboard at an angle from where you sit. A twisting sitting position is a set up for back problems. Have your computer screen and keyboard aligned right in front of you.
Chair, Keyboard and Monitor are the 3 components of Easy Ergonomics
What comfort challenges do you have when working? Have you discovered solutions? Please share!