Let’s face it: when you’re tired, you aren’t doing your best work. And that’s no good for your overall job performance. But it’s not just about enough sleep, staying hydrated, and a proper diet—although those are also very important for your health! At best, fatigue is annoying, and at worst can lead to safety issues.
Did you know that your workstation may be contributing to your fatigue? Below are ten tips that can help you create a more ergonomic workstation that supports your energy level throughout the day.
- Vary your body positioning. Don’t maintain the same posture or position for extended periods of time. Stand up, walk around, or do some light stretches for a few minutes every hour or so. Consider alternating part of the day working while sitting, and part of the day working while standing.
- Check the position of your monitor. Your computer monitor should be positioned directly in front of you, with the center of the screen at eye level. Whether you are sitting or standing when you are working in front of the monitor, your neck and shoulders should be in a relaxed and neutral position. If you use more than one monitor, be sure you can see them easily without having to turn your head.
- Be aware of your posture. Don’t slouch. If you’re sitting, make sure your hips are positioned as far back as they can go in your chair. The back of your chair should support your upper and lower back, so sit in a position that lets the chair guide your posture. Your head, neck, and shoulders should be relaxed; your elbows should remain close to your body. Your forearms, wrists, and hands should be in a straight line and be approximately parallel to the floor.
- Consider an anti-fatigue mat. If you spend a lot of time standing, you can help reduce stiffness or soreness in your feet, legs, knees, and hips by standing on a surface that has some elasticity. Anti-fatigue mats are softer than wood, tile, or concrete flooring, and can be made from rubber, gel, vinyl, foam, or other pliable materials.
- Rest your eyes. Be sure to blink! Close your eyes periodically to help avoid eye strain. A popular tip is the 20-20-20 rule. It suggests that every 20 minutes, you take a 20-second break from looking at your monitor. During the break, look at something that’s 20 feet away from you to vary your focus.
- Use a headset. Or just hold the phone instead of squeezing the phone handset between your neck and shoulder. You have probably noticed this position becomes uncomfortable very quickly. Over time, this position can cause many neck and shoulder problems.
- Change your computer’s settings. The color scheme you’ve selected may be nice to look at, but it may not be doing your eyes any favors. If you don’t have enough contrast, your eyes may be working harder than they need to. You might also consider reducing the brightness of your monitor.
- Scoot in. Don’t sit too far away from your keyboard and mouse. If you have to stretch your arms out to reach your mouse and keyboard, you’ll tire more easily. Position your keyboard and mouse at a distance where you can keep your elbows bent in a neutral position.
- Light the space appropriately. Lighting that’s too dim or too bright can cause eyestrain can lead to blurred vision, headaches, and neck pain. And the color of lighting can make a difference in your energy levels as well. Lights with yellowish tones are easier on the eyes than the bluer tones of many traditional fluorescents.
- Adjust your chair. Your feet should comfortably rest on the floor when you are sitting; your knees should be at or just below hip level. If your seating position is too low or too high, raise or lower the chair—or get a footrest.