Spending a lot of time in front of the computer can be detrimental to your health, both mental and physical. If you’re hunched over staring at a screen, you’re going to be sore and cranky before long.
If you’re trying to get work done so you can have more free time, having an uncomfortable work space is going to detract significantly from your work ethic. Of course, this isn’t surprising, given the number of published studies on the links between worker’s environments and their work productivity.
What really made me take a look at how my own home office was negatively effecting my capacity for creativity was when a friend of mine was severely injured in a car accident, leaving him nearly paralysed. He was the sort of person that always thought chiropractors were sort of ‘witch doctors’, they just “crack” your back and send you on your way. He didn’t realize that chiropractors cover everything from dieting to proper exercise for the most optimal recovery time from the human body.
Heeding the Doctor’s Advice
After the accident he was home bound for a while, and while hanging out I noticed his room had gotten some new equipment. Of course I realized that someone recovering from a serious injury like his would need the maximum level of comfort, but I didn’t realize how many things factor in.
The slightest bit of improper posture could send painful spasms through his neck. He had almost all of his new office equipment measured specifically for him, and during injury recovery he swore his productivity shot up. Maybe it was the confinement to his chair and bed, but you can’t knock the importance of a comfortable work environment.
The 5 most important factors
- Good posture – The most often overlooked factor, and more than just sitting up straight, the most comfortable seating arrangement won’t do any good if you’re giving in to bad posture. The body naturally wants to slouch and be in a position that’s bad for itself, because our bodies are inherently lazy. When you’re in proper sitting posture, your weight is supported by your back and abdominal muscles, but when you’re slouching your body supports its weight on your backbone. Chalk it up to flawed design, but there are many ways to counter the effects, one of them being adopting good posture right now.
- A tailored chair – There are many good office chairs out there, but they’re not designed specifically for your bodies needs. Every person has a different shape, according to my friend’s chiropractor, and the chair you’re using from the store, no matter how comfortable, wasn’t designed for your long-term benefit. It might cost a little more, but companies exist that will tailor make your next office chair. You can’t afford not to take your comfort seriously!
- Monitor height – Jutting your head forward or craning your neck upwards to see your screen is bad for you, and the reason most of us do it is because of our monitor’s height in relation to our heads. The top of your monitor should be at perfect eye level, and a little under 2″ feet, or an arm’s reach away. If sun glare is a problem on your screen, try drawing the shades or turning off overhead lights, or you can pick up an anti-glare screen filter for under $80 dollars.
- Healthy diet – A poor diet can make us feel lethargic, dull and uninspired when it comes to our work, so you should eat healthy snack foods at the computer instead. Feed your brain a banana or granola bar instead of pop-tarts and cookies. If you need an energy boost, have an orange full of vitamin C instead of some caffeine and taurine energy shot.
- Regular exercise – Another equally important factor that goes hand-in-hand with a healthy diet is the absolute necessity for regular exercise. Sitting for long hours already causes cramps and soreness, which means that going for long stretches of time without limb stretches will make the problem increasingly worse. Do yourself a favour and stretch often, stand up and reach for the ceiling once every 30 minutes. Shake your legs in front of you to get the blood flowing, you can get dangerous blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis that result from poor circulation and blood pooling in the legs.
In summary, making sure you’re comfortable is one of the easiest and most immediate ways to relax and increase your ability to focus. We know it’s not healthy to be on the computer for so long, but it’s almost unavoidable in this day and age, so you may as well take steps to ensure you don’t look begin to resemble the hunchback of Notre Dame. I enjoy being helpful to those I cares about, and highly recommentds sites like www.awesomedr.com to get good advice from a professionals point of view on techniques for computer users.