I was reading an article in the September MONEY magazine and it was great to see that this is subject is being talked about. The cost for musculoskeletal injury is out of control and can be prevented when a few cost effective tools are used. It does not take much to set up your office with equipment that does not cost an arm and a leg.
The goal of ergonomics is to help you create your best posture to be able to work without pain and strain to your body. Specific office tools such as these can help:
1. Phone headset – to allow for proper neck and shoulder alignment. Ease muscle strain. ($10-$20).
2. Document holder – to allow upright alignment of the torso, neck and head. Prevents eye and neck strain. ($10-$30).
3. Footrest – Helps with alignment to create a continual 90 degree angle while sitting for less strain on the front of the torso (abdominal muscles), lower back, knees and legs. ($25-$40).
4. Keyboard – When using any keyboard, where it is positioned on your desk, will allow for a neutral p0sition of the wrists. Make sure your forearms (are at a 90 degree angle and wrists neutral and not resting on the keyboard. This can put pressure on the median nerve where the carpal tunnel is) to achieve the best posture with less strain on the shoulders, arms, elbows and wrists. ($25-$50).
5. Lamp – good natural lighting is best to help prevent eye strain and fatigue. ($25-$70).
6. Chair – It is the #1 office tool to achieve correct posture. Without it, none of the above will work as effectively if the whole body is not supported at all angles. Go to your local Staples, Office Max, Office Depot etc and try out a chair that has many adjustments that fits your body type, height, seat pad(width and length), and height of chair back. Being able to adjust up and down, remove arm rests, and more is the first in fitting your office. At home matters too, so be mindful of changing office sites. It can disrupt how the body feels when you work. ($90-$200).
Once all these supporting office tools are in place, adjusted to fit your body, your creative brainstorming can go to work with effortlessness and complete focus. And in the long run, with regular body maintenance, your work day will breeze by without stain or pain.
Tax Deduction: Keep your receipts! Self-employed home office equipment is tax deductible! If you work for a company, “your total unreimbursed business expenses must exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income; then you can deduct the portion of your ergonomic purchases above that threshold. ” If you see a Physical Therapist, Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath, or any therapy for body strain, use your flexible health spending account at work to fund your co-pay with pretax dollars. This will save you cash and ease your mind when it comes to getting the help you need to ease body strain. It makes going to work much more pleasant all the way around!
Resource: September 2013 Money Magazine.
Kate Montgomery ~ ERGOhealthy Coach and Professional Kinesiology Practitioner
See more at www.ergohealthy.com