Check your chair. As well as adjusting your monitor and your desk you want to make sure that your chair is set correctly. Sitting up straight, your feet need to reach the ground by keeping your knee approximately 90 per cent bent. It should also support your back and your elbows. It's also a good time to adjust the height of your desk if that's an option.
Peripherals rule. A classic ergonomic keyboard might not be for you, but you could certainly give it a go, either way, a pad under your keyboard and mouse is not only decorative but also protecting both you and your desk. You could even put a wrist rest in front of the keyboard and mouse. These are relatively cheap changes but you could most certainly help to avoid an RSI in your wrist.
Stretch yourself before you wreck yourself. Make sure you get up from your desk at least a few times throughout the day and do some stretches, ideally if you can get away for 15-20 minutes for a walk it would be even better.
Under normal circumstances, we tend to work from an office, especially if we are permanent employees. Also, we are normally provided with equipment that is necessary from both a productivity and a health and safety point of view. It is also expected that we are provided with training and an assessment on the regular basis on best practices of our work environments. It is a legal requirement of the employer after all and is often referred to as DSE assessment.
In the current climate though, it is not necessarily the case. People working from home, and some of us are in freelance/self-employed positions. Despite the legal requirement, in my experience, some employers fall short on delivering the training and/or the equipment required for good DSE safety when working remotely.
That's why I thought I'd share my tips on how to keep the impacts of desk-based work as low as possible, focusing on a few most important things.
My top tips for desk hygiene
De-clutter your desk. This is super important and a good starting point before anything else. Take off everything from your desk (or just push it to the floor that's how I like doing it ). Go through the things (from the floor) one by one and make sure you're only putting things back on the desk that you need. Make sure you wipe with some sort of disinfectant especially the keyboard and mouse.
Keep it tidy. So great, you got rid of all the unnecessary things from your desk, now comes the hard part by keeping it tidy. If you introduce some of these basic routines into your daily life you will not only feel more in control but as a result, you will feel more organised.
Adjust your monitor(s):
- Fix the height. It's important to have your monitor at the right height. Depending on the size, experts recommend that the top line of the screen should be roughly your eye level. If you have more than 1 monitor make sure that your main screen (primary) that you look at most of the time is directly in front of you so you're not putting any strain on your neck by looking sideways.
- Dim and power. The brightness of the monitor needs to be set correctly, roughly about 10-20 per cent of the maximum brightness. This will help to avoid any eye strain and therefore reduce the chance of headaches. It's also more eco friendly. Once you've finished using your screen make sure you turn it off as opposed to just standby.
No food on your desk. Some of us snack throughout the day and that's not necessarily a good thing. Apart from the obvious problem of crumbs, scientists found that keyboards and mice are amongst the items with most bacteria. If you can avoid snacks on the table it would be amazing, because without realizing you could finish quite a substantial amount of food without needing it in the first place. The alternative option is to replace those crisps and other unhealthy snacks with for instance dehydrated fruit (apple crisps without sugar).
You're not on holiday. For the love of God, you're
not on holiday and it does feel good to go to work fully dressed. No
PJs, boxer shorts or other half dressed solutions going to replace the feeling of being fully dressed and ready for work.
Bonus tip that may cost a bit of money
Invest in a standing desk. It is a worthwhile investment. We discovered a company who offer a highly customizable desk set-up. For instance, if you already have a tabletop that you're happy with, you could just buy the motorized legs with the control buttons and screw your existing tabletop to it. Prices may vary, but you could expect to find something from a £200 starting point. If we could assist you or your business with a desk upgrade please don't hesitate to contact us.