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Here at Pain Free Working, we always talk about the importance of ergonomics in the workplace. Numerous desk job workers endure enormous physical, psychological, and repetitive stress due to long hours at work and busy schedules. Additionally, most desk job workers sit in front of their computers all day, sitting and staying in one position for so long until they finish their tasks.
These stressful aspects of the desk job life can lead to the development of chronic health issues that can make working more difficult. It’s not too late to avoid those issues though. By incorporating ergonomics in the office, you get to work in a safe and more comfortable manner, reducing the likelihood of aches and pains.
Aside from ergonomics, we here in Pain Free Working are also big fans of staying fit and healthy. After all, having a sound mind and body helps with becoming more efficient and productive at work. However, most desk workers find it hard to squeeze some gym time into their daily lives due to a variety of reasons. Still, you can stay active and work up a sweat in your workstation by doing desk exercises.
Ergonomics and fitness go hand-in-hand together to create a working environment that prioritizes the well-being of employees. A great number of desk workers agree with that sentiment too. We’ve rounded up a couple of health stories from desk workers who have incorporated either ergonomics, exercising, or both into their daily lives and how those aspects improved their overall quality of life. Check them out!
Ways Ergonomics and Exercise Help in the Workplace
No matter how much we try to shrug it off, all of us are getting older and not any younger. Our bodies become more fragile the more we age, which is why it’s very important to take better care of ourselves. Having an ergonomically-inclined workplace reduces the risk of aches and pains, and therefore lessens the likelihood of developing more serious health issues later in life.
On Standing Desks
Countless desk workers have attested to the importance of an ergonomic workplace. In one forum dedicated to discussing how to make any workstation ergonomically fit as possible, one worker stated:
“Standing desks are great to have. It helps in building the habit of changing positions instead of sitting down all day or being on your feet all day. I’ve been using an adjustable height desk for a couple of years now, and it’s been highly beneficial for me. I will switch heights on the desk several times a day. Moving around actually helps me focus more on my work.”
Sit-stand desks are a good way to incorporate more movement into your day. They help in reducing issues that come with sitting for too long. Moreover, some studies have shown standing while working can help in burning calories, making it a highly ideal ergonomic solution to adapt in the workplace.
On Proper Sitting and Incorporating Movement
Aside from having a standing desk, another user stressed the importance of sitting properly and moving more throughout the workday. They said:
“Sitting properly is important but getting up every hour is more important. Feet must touch the floor completely and your knees must be bent 90 degrees or so. While sitting upright, monitors should be as far away from your eyes as you can reach with your middle fingers without twisting your torso. Keeping this in mind has helped me a lot.”
On Ergonomic Chairs
Pairing a standing desk with a great ergonomic chair is an excellent idea as well. That way, you are still supported even when you’re seated. Here’s an anecdote from another user about their experience with an ergonomic chair:
“I’ve only ever used $50-$80 desk chairs you can find at Office Depot or Staples, and after moving to WFH and spending a lot more time in my chair, I wanted to upgrade to something a bit nicer and more supportive. I took the plunge on getting an ergonomic chair and have been pleasantly surprised. I like how it has a mesh back that gives me some breathability, and I also love that it has 3 levels of adjustments that I can customize. The cushion is nice and thick too! I’ve really been enjoying this chair, it’s much better than my old desk chair.”
On Office Exercises
Of course, even when you use a supportive ergonomic chair, staying seated for long periods isn’t the greatest thing to do. Being more active is something that most desk workers should always keep in mind. Ryan Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Hootsuite, made a passionate case about including exercise as a part of the working day and with the bosses paying for it. During his time at Hootsuite, the company encouraged its employees to exercise before, during, and after working hours in the small on-site gym.
“Exercise in the office isn’t a new idea. But it’s such a clear win-win – in terms of health, morale, and productivity. I see employees return from the workouts refreshed and better focused on their jobs. Time lost on exercise is made back and more in terms of improved productivity.”
Ryan remarked that he doesn’t believe a company has to have a gym on-site for exercising in the office to happen. Instead, he suggests that employees of companies without an in-house gym can still exercise by doing workouts at their own desks.
There are countless desk exercises that anyone can do to incorporate more movement in their days and they don’t even need full-scale gym equipment for it. Here’s another user in one online discussion forum, talking about how they exercise at their desk:
“My office building doesn’t have a gym, and there isn’t one nearby that I can sign up for at all. I didn’t want to monopolize any of my work hours or bother others with my routine so to be discreet, I just use small weights under my cubicle, alternating my arms in five-minute intervals. I do this while watching YouTube videos of short fitness exercises. These have helped me visualize and strive better to reach my goals.”
Exercising doesn’t always need to happen in a gym. It’s an activity that can be done almost anywhere, including your workstation, at any time of the day. If you want to be subtle, you can use under-desk equipment such as desk cycles to get your blood circulating. There are also exercises that you can do without disturbing your officemates. If you’re not shy about working out in the office, there are various workouts you can do, such as cardio exercises, stretches, yoga poses, and the like. You can even rope in your colleagues with you and exercise together to improve the fitness of everyone in the company. The possibilities are endless.
Ergonomics and exercise at work can vastly improve your health. Doing something such as making time for gentle stretches or investing in a sit-stand desk allows you to incorporate more movement throughout the day. Whether you take the ergonomic route or stick to doing exercises or choose to do both, keeping your body in check using basic practices can give you comfort and support that may prevent aches and pains in the future, leading to overall better health.