One simple way to dramatically boost your health and happiness is to adjust your workstation to be more ergonomic. From your neck and back to your wrists, knees, and elbows, proper posture and alignment at your workstation can have a huge impact on your life. Refreshing your home office workspace with a low-cost ergonomic setup that supports voluntary changes in position throughout the day will make you work smarter and feel better. This guide to workstation ergonomics explores how to achieve the optimal position while working at your desk.
What if you could work quicker and more productively, prevent chronic pain in your joints and spine, and feel less fatigued at the end of a workday? It sounds too good to be true, but standing workstation ergonomics are a game-changer for overall wellness. Particularly during this period of working from home because of the health crisis, many people are working all day without leaving the house. Regrettably, this can have negative effects on your overall health. While gyms are closed and we aren’t walking or commuting as much, it’s essential to take care of your body to maintain physical and mental wellbeing.
Trade a Sedentary Lifestyle for a Sit-Stand Workstation
The fact is, in recent decades many adults have adopted a lifestyle where they spend more than 70% of their day in a seated position.  A sedentary lifestyle does not solely mean that you don’t exercise enough; it’s not exercising in addition to sitting way more than you should be. This includes while you are at work and when you get home and relax on the sofa. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic illnesses, and cancer. Not to mention, sitting for long hours slows the metabolism and increases the risk of weight gain. Needless to say, people weren’t meant to sit for hours on end!
To remedy this, proper workplace ergonomics should include standing workstations that allow workers to alternate their position throughout the day. Voluntary movement from sitting to a standing position will naturally reset your posture, helping prevent slumping or strain on any one area of the body. It also burns more calories, improves blood flow, and manages blood sugar levels. Not to mention, work is much more enjoyable when you can move between positions. If you are someone who likes to fidget while doing work, a sit-stand desk is perfect to help focus your attention.
What is the Best Standing Desk?
Workplace ergonomics have been revolutionized by adjustable desks as you can set them according to your specific height and positioning. A sit-stand desk like Yaasa’s high quality Adjustable Desk allows users to alternate between sitting and standing comfortably throughout the day. The Yaasa adjustable desk is equipped with push-button technology to raise and lower the desk to your specifications. With a whisper-soft electric motor, the desk does not cause any disturbances to coworkers or family members. Tripping is a safety risk in itself and this desk doesn’t have excess annoying cords lying around that would cause you to fall. Additionally, the desk can hold up to 176 pounds of weight, so it has no problem supporting multiple dual monitors, books, and more.
How to Find Your Ideal Standing Workstation Height and Posture
Wondering what the ideal standing workstation height is? The truth is, the right height varies from person to person. You will need to raise or lower the desk according to your own height in order to reap the full-body benefits of a standing desk. To discern where the correct desk height is, start by standing in a neutral position with the spine straight. Walk forward to the desk and reach out your hands until they rest lightly on the keyboard. The computer monitor should be at eye-level without any hunching or straining of your neck. Your elbows should be parallel with the keyboard tray and pinned close to your sides. In this position, you should feel like your alignment is straight and that your weight is balanced between both legs.
Shoulders should remain back and down and not be scrunched up around your ears. As you hold a lot of tension and stress in your shoulders, you should take a deep breath and roll your shoulders down whenever you feel them creeping up.  Keep in mind that the height of your desk will have to be checked every morning because permeable factors like footwear can affect how tall you are.
How Long Should You Stand at a Sit-Stand Desk?
We aren’t saying you have to stand the entire day…the ideal stand to sit ratio is somewhere between 1:1 and 3:1, which equates to thirty minutes of standing followed by thirty minutes of sitting at the minimum and up to 45 minutes of standing to 15 minutes of sitting at the maximum. While 45 minutes an hour sounds like a lot of standing, you can work up to it and your body is likely to adjust. Many people find that over time, they become more comfortable standing than sitting. Plus, your core and back strength will increase from standing, so you will feel like a more healthy version of yourself. Instead of keeping a strict schedule, we recommend listening to your body and alternating as often as you like!
How to Adjust Your Chair for Proper Posture
As with your desk, you will need to adjust your chair to achieve an ergonomic position. To do this, remember that a 90 angle is your friend. When sitting, your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your hands resting gently on the keyboard so as to reduce excess strain on the arms and wrists. Likewise, the knees should also be bent at a 90-degree angle with feet planted flat on the floor. Your back should be supported by the back of the chair and at the same time, there should also be a small space under the knees that is not touching the chair. The torso should also be at a 90-degree angle in relation to the thighs. If any of these measurements is off, adjust your chair, keyboard, and computer monitor to remedy the angles.
According to Canadian statistics, 28.8% of lost-time claims are due to back injuries, with 7% of those occurring in clerical jobs.  If you suffer from any lower back pain while sitting in a chair at work, you might need to place a small pillow or other lumbar support in the back of the chair or add a seat cushion to your chair. A support pillow like Yaasa’s The Memory Foam Pillow is ideal for this as the foam forms to the natural curvature of your spine. In a sitting position, your back should be neutral and upright with the pillow.
How to Adjust Your Keyboard and Mouse
When you are sitting and standing, your keyboard tray should be parallel to your forearms. The desired effect is that your hands are on the same level as your elbows. Hands should not extend upwards from the wrist. When your wrists are positioned improperly, it will increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel over time as your nerves are compressed. A more neutral position of the wrists minimizes stress and strain and expends the least amount of effort while you are working. Plus, when your body is less fatigued, you will find that you can work for longer periods with better focus.
Don’t forget your mouse! Your mouse should be right next to the keyboard so that you do not have to reach for it. If the mouse has settings for sensitivity, set it at the lightest touch possible to reduce the amount of energy expended. Some people switch their mouse from one side of the computer to the other to alternate hands. However, this can seem like an unnecessary challenge for anyone who is not ambidextrous.
How to Adjust Your Monitor
Whether you are sitting or standing, your monitor should be set at eye-level. If we are getting specific, your eyes should coincide naturally with the top line on the monitor screen. The distance between your head and the monitor should be approximately the length of one monitor away or 20 inches. The tilt of the monitor screen is also important: set it at around 10 to 20 degrees away from you. This makes it possible for your neck to remain in neutral alignment without leaning downwards to see.
Other Ways to Create an Ergonomic Workspace
- Anti-Fatigue Mats: Anti-Fatigue mats utilize what is known as “dynamic ergonomics.” This means that when you use them, the muscles of your legs are constantly in subtle motion to improve circulation and reduce the stress on any one joint. They are great for helping alleviate back pain and can help prevent unsightly varicose veins from forming. Anti-fatigue mats are durable surfaces that are often made from foam, gel, or rubber. They have been found to reduce the strain of standing for long periods of time.  If you are used to standing on very hard floors like concrete, an anti-fatigue mat is recommended.
- Footrests: To rest your feet throughout the day and prevent foot pain, many people enjoy using a footrest that is approximately 10% of their body height. A footrest allows you to alternate from standing on one leg to the other as a means of shifting weight throughout the day.
- Proper Footwear: You should generally opt for comfortable shoes with arch support rather than high heels. Ergonomics only works for your body if you are cooperating with all of the elements, including wearing supportive shoes. If you experience foot pain or discomfort regularly, you should look into orthotic insoles for your shoes to provide more support.
- Lighting: Staring at a computer all day can be tiresome for your eyes, causing headaches. This effect is exacerbated when you have dim lighting or rely on only one light source. To aid your eyes, try multiple light sources in the room that are low level and ambient. Natural light is of course, preferable for office spaces though you do not want a window to be behind you. Any light that causes a glare on your screen should be avoided.
- Schedule Break Time: With an office space that is ergonomic, the next best way to help yourself throughout the workday is to take frequent breaks. According to a randomized study of workers, the most productive took breaks that were approximately 17 minutes long every 52 minutes. This is just enough time for you to walk around and reset your mind. It’s also much better for your eyes to allow them some time away from the screen to re-moisten.
Creating an ergonomic workspace can be overly expensive and complicated. Here at Yaasa, we’ve created a solution that makes sense. Yaasa Adjustable Desks are affordable, easy to set up and use, and come with sleek customization options, making them a top pick for students, remote workers, and corporate offices. A height-adjustable desktop not only benefits workers already grappling with health problems, but it also motivates all users to do their best work possible.