5 Tips for Setting Up an Ergonomic and Comfortable Study or Work Table
The introduction of hybrid work models as a result of the pandemic has made many of us reevaluate our working situations. Dawning upon us that the office or study is where we spend a large portion of our day, sometimes even more so than our own homes or living space, people are beginning to see importance in customizing their workstation to make room for ease and efficiency. It’s an uptick recognised by numerous entrepreneurs as well, who hopped on the bandwagon of producing ergonomically driven furniture that are easily personalized to fit the needs of its users. With much science that goes into it, how exactly do you get started? Here are some tips to help you navigate your desk organization intuitively.
Choosing Your Desk Wisely
The desk is easily the centerpiece of your workspace setup as it assembles all your necessities in one place. With long hours fixated on what’s in front of you, its importance as a major factor of your comfort while working is undisputed.
While working on a regular table is completely fine, many may benefit from putting a little more money into an adjustable desk that can alternate between sitting and standing positions. Despite being conditioned to sit when working, standing desks are quickly rising in popularity as they have been observed to be effective in reducing stress, fatigue and musculoskeletal discomfort. By choosing an adjustable desk, you also avoid the risk of investing in a desk with a tabletop too high or low, for its height can be easily modified to suit individual needs.
Your selection still requires a degree of heed despite these tables being readily convertible. The measurements of your tabletop, for example, cannot be altered unless you opt for one with an extendable feature. As such, make sure your desk has ample space to cater to your peripherals, but not too much that it takes up floor space needlessly and requires you to stretch to retrieve your items. At the same time, pay attention to not only the length but the depth of your desk, as getting the dimensions wrong can result in the unsatisfactory placement of your monitor and keyboard, leading to substandard working positions.
Picking and Adjusting Your Chair
Your chair will support you throughout the course of your workday, so it goes without saying that picking one that is right for you is crucial to optimizing your workspace for maximum productivity. But how do you know what’s good and bad for you without letting time tell? This is where diving into the proper sitting posture can help you streamline your options more quickly and clearly.
One can begin by understanding the natural curvature of the spine. A healthy spine is shaped like an ‘S’, with three natural curves, to imitate the effects of a coiled spring – the cervical, thoracic and lumbar curve. You want to ensure that you maintain that same position even when sitting. At the right height, you should find your thighs parallel to the floor, and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
Ideally, a chair with good lumbar support will also help frame your body holistically and naturally in addition to manual height adjustments. As this posture leaves your wrists hanging off the edge of the table, individuals may consider getting a chair with armrests for increased stability and comfort. With no one-size-fits-all solution to chairs, it is best to explore the different types of supportive features a chair is attached to, such as footrests, backrests, adjustable seat depths and more.
Positioning Your Keyboard and Mouse
Most of us wouldn’t have known that there was a right way to use our mouse and keyboard if it weren’t for the aches and pains that followed bad posture and placement. In fact, computer-related injuries from rigorous mouse and keyboard usage are so true to life that they can be categorized under repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This disorder is a result of excessive motions and inadequate support on the wrist to the forearm, causing hand numbness, pain and weakness from inflammation and compression of the median nerve.
Arranging your peripherals with the idea of keeping comfort and alignment as top priority can minimize the strain inflicted on your upper body when working. You can start by positioning your keyboard right before you (at the front of the desk), so you don’t have to stretch or hover in order to type. Make sure your keyboard is in close proximity to your mouse to reduce the exertion and pressure needed to constantly switch between the two, and consciously let your shoulders drop and relax as you work. Your wrists should be straight with your hands level with or slightly below your elbows. If it helps, you can consider popping in a keyboard platform or mouse pad with a wrist rest for additional support.
Of course, there are always more gadgets for people who want to go above and beyond for the sake of their health. Ergonomic computer accessories are a whole new world to explore, with all sorts of shapes and curves for varying preferences and proportions. Look around and experiment to find one that suits you best!
Fitting the Monitor to Your Needs
Many components of office ergonomics are heavily interlinked, which can make disentangling each one and their properties confusing. The placement of the monitor, for instance, is dependent on the depth of the desk, as well as the height it is supported at or suspended from. This means your desk purchase directly influences the positioning of your screen, and vice versa.
The optimal posture when using equipment like computers or laptops demands for the top of the screen to be in line with the eyes, at an arm’s length away. This lessens the effects of neck and upper back tension as you stay upright for hours on end. Setting an appropriate distance between the monitor and your eyes can also alleviate eye strain, which is characterized by blurred vision, sensitivity, difficulty concentrating and a headache, among others. It is usually caused by prolonged and intense eye use.
Certain small tweaks within your monitor can, too, go a long way in preventing this fatigue. You may wish to cruise through your monitor settings to find the correct brightness and contrast that accommodate your vision and consequently, your posture. Adjusting the height and tilt of your monitor to ensure it isn’t affected by the lighting of your room such that it doesn’t obstruct the display of your screen works just as well.
Practicing the Right Habits
As much as scientifically engineered products can contribute to a conducive and healthy work table, it is the discipline to exercise the best posture habits that determine whether or not they can take effect. Make the most of your carefully planned workstation by paying attention to how you hold your form, especially after an extended period of time working, and realign your body when necessary, such as when you’re catching hints of a slouch or hunch. It is recommended to move around regularly as well, so don’t hesitate to get up and walk, or temporarily shift into a standing position with the press of a button at an adjustable desk.
It takes anywhere between 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, and 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic, according to Healthline. With that in mind, ingrain the best practices for your posture for long-term productivity and health benefits – after all, prevention is better than cure.
Check out MyDesk.SG for the finest ergonomic and office furniture that can serve you better and for long. From desks to chairs, and table accessories to cabinets, we have the parts that can help you achieve better efficiency and comfort at your workplace. Our finely designed products are also built with the ability to encourage better posture and positioning effortlessly.