We blogged recently about avoiding vision-related problems when you’re looking at your backlit cell phone screen, the Retina display of an iPad rental, and other eye-candy for hours each day. Equally problematic are the injuries and conditions today’s workers face (and not just in the office) while working with high-tech gear at an infinite variety of desk and workstation setups. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not the only musculoskeletal condition that you can avoid with some planning and self-awareness. Let’s get to it.
NOTE: This is not medical advice. All diagnoses and treatments, for any kind of injury or condition, are a matter between you and your health care provider. That said, here are some basic approaches to get you started on creating a healthier workplace.
Check those chairs — Herman Miller’s Aeron chair is touted as the modern paradigm, but it’s costly, and other manufacturers make high-end chairs for less. A good chair has the proper seat size: at least an inch wider than the hips and not so long that it catches the knees. If it doesn’t have lumbar support, add a lumbar roll or get a footrest to raise your feet (it aligns the spine).
Keep moving — If you only get up when, say, your Xserve RAID goes offline, you’re sitting too much. The advice varies depending upon whom you ask, but just getting up for a few five-minute “moving breaks” a day not only correlates with better health, but with increased productivity, too.
Rethink your work area — Workstations, like chairs, should promote good postures (yes, plural). There are your sitting and standing postures, discussed above, as well as a proper “typing posture”: when using a keyboard, keep forearms and hands flat with your elbow at 90 degrees or so. As touch technology continues advancing, devices like our LCD touchscreen monitor rental can help you do more work with less movement, too.
Support your weak spots — To avoid wrist and hand problems, there are various ergonomic keyboards from Belkin, Logitech and others. You can also reduce arm movement by using your mouse less, which can be accomplished with a keyboard that has extra, custom-assignable function keys for opening oft-used apps and running macros.
Increase your self-awareness — Among media pros like those who use our render farms, it is common to get “totally lost” in the work. If you are so focused that you’re glued to a chair… well, as they say, there’s an app for that! There are plenty of alarm clocks and reminder utilities, but at the top of the “preventative care” software heap are programs like RSIGuard that monitor your typing, mousing and time management.
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