Spending too much time at your desk? You might feel comfortable, but most of your bad habits can lead to long-term problems. Ergonomics can reduce your risk of health problems and create a comfortable work environment.

There are simple and affordable adjustments you can make to your office environment that will make it safer. Some of these changes can also increase your productivity.

Ergonomic Upgrades

It can be easy to forget about your office environment when you’re knee deep in work. Sometimes it creeps up on you before you know it. Save your body from the strain of aches and pains with some of these affordable ergonomic upgrades.

One way is to elevate your computer or laptop to eye level. This can save you from hunching over or straining your neck. If your computer is your work machine, elevate it to your eye level using a standing desk or laptop stand.

Swap out your traditional desk for a standing desk. Some of them cost as little as $20. If you want something fancier, invest in an adjustable desk or tread-puter. Even taking a break from your desk every so often can be a break for your neck.

Hardware

There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to investing in the right hardware for your computer. If you’ve been stuck with the same mouse and keyboard all this time, then it’s time for a change. If you’re using a laptop with an external mouse and keyboard, this can lead to carpal tunnel down the line.

Tired of cramping your wrists with a worn-out keyboard or wireless mouse? Invest in a new keyboard and mouse set that’s ergonomically designed. While it won’t make your computer run any faster, it’ll save your wrists from using cheap hardware.

You should also invest in a bigger, clearer monitor as well. It’s one way to improve your work experience. This allows you to see multiple tabs, screens, or applications all on one screen without straining your eyes.

The future is wireless. Gone are the days when you’d forget you had headphones on and tried to move away from your desk only to have them snatched from off your head. We’ve had wireless headphones now for a good few years. They are a good idea in case your job requires you to make calls or you just prefer having some music on while you work without bothering anyone else.

Software

If you’re pushing yourself too hard on a given project, you should be taking regular breaks to give your arms, eyes, and wrists a break. If mental reminders aren’t cutting it then install AntiRSI, Timeout, or Workrave on your laptop or computer. These programs remind you to take a break and get up from your desk every so often.

Eye strain can happen to those who write code or copy all day long. Two ways to correct this issue is to increase your monitor’s refresh rate and install ClearType or EyeDefender. You can also use a darker desktop theme to reduce the amount of time looking at a bright screen.

Mobile Apps

The productivity app DeskTime can help improve your performance. This automatic time tracking app allows you to increase your productivity so you can focus on more mportant tasks. You won’t find yourself hunched over your desk, trying to get that project done.

The aptly titled Office Ergonomics allows you to set up your workstation to prevent discomfort and cramping. This mobile app includes animated graphics and interactive tips for setting up your office environment for optimized comfort. These tips will allow you to make changes with the things that you have, and help you uncover new solutions.

Cloud Storage

One option to improve your work experience is on the cloud. You can move most of your important documents and files to a cloud-storage service. Most of these services are free and allow you to delete local copies once you moved them to the cloud.

This frees up room on your computer’s hard drive. It also makes it easy to move those files when it comes time to upgrade to a new computer.

There are plenty of cloud-storage services available, including Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive. Most of them allow you to backup photos to the cloud, while others are strictly for documents. Your options depend on the type of operating system you own, the amount of storage you need, and how much you’re willing to invest for storage.

Sleep Support

Sometimes changing your sleep routine can help improve your work life. How your joints feel at work can be influenced by how much sleep you get at night. The ideal sleep position for a great night’s sleep is on your side with your knees bent and a pillow placed in between the knees. Your head should be placed on a single pillow.

You should also have a regular sleep routine. This includes falling asleep at the same time every night and banning electronics from your bedroom. You should avoid using any screens (including the television) at least an hour before your designated bedtime.

Lighting

Lighting isn’t just for decorating – it’s beneficial for your eyes. A desk light is important for reading documents and files. The right lighting can prevent computer vision syndrome, blurred vision, dizziness, dry eyes, eye fatigue, eyestrain, headaches, light sensitivity, and other problems.

People underestimate the amount of light they need to work on a task. It’s important to choose a light that’s attached to an arm that you can adjust to your liking. Position the light opposite to the hand that you write with, and shine it on papers but away from the computer monitor to cut down on glare.

Lifestyle Improvements

Changing your lifestyle can also improve your work life. If you spend most of your day sitting at your desk, it’s important to schedule regular work breaks. Take two to three 30- to 60-second breaks each hour to give your body time to recover.

 

Drinking more water throughout the day will have you getting up from your desk more to refill your bottle and to make trips to the bathroom. This will ensure that you’re taking regular breaks from your desk throughout the day.

Helen Eagleton
Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen