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Good Posture - Key for a long day in the office

As many office workers will know, good posture is highly important if you want to avoid back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Sitting at your workstation or computer desk for long periods of time can take its toll on your body, even if you don't feel any immediate pain. In order to avoid any sort of discomfort read below, our top tips, in association with Fineback Furniture, suppliers of ergonomic office chairs, for tips on maintaining good posture in the office.

Step 1 - Your Body Positioning and Office Chair

Push your hips into the back of your chair. This ensures you are sitting tall and upright whilst maintaining the natural curvature of your lower back.

Adjust the height of your office chair so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are level, or slightly lower than your hips.

Adjust the back of your office chair to a reclined angle. This will help support the small of your back. You may also wish to consider a lumbar support which is contoured to fit the shape of your back and aid in comfort.

Research now suggests that armrests encourage slouching so it may be a good idea to find an office chair with no armrests. Just ensure that your elbows are the same height as the keyboard, creating a 90 degree angle with your shoulders. A top tip is also to keep your shoulders relaxed, as tension can cause stiffness and pain.  

Step 2 - Your Workstation Layout

Position your keyboard and mouse as close together as possible. This means you will not to straining your arm to reach your mouse. Also, try using keyboard shortcuts rather than using your mouse whenever you can.

Ensure your computer screen is directly in front of you and slightly below eye level. This encourages your eye lids to remain in a natural and relaxed state rather than glaring at the screen. The monitor should also be at least an arms length away from your body. 

Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screens’ display to a level that suits your vision and means you do not strain your eyes.

Avoid using telephone handsets if possible headsets and speakerphones mean your posture will not be compromised.

Step 3 - Managing Your Posture

It's highly unlikely that office workers will be able to maintain the optimum posture all day long. However, one way around this is to take short breaks away from your workstation. This will mean that you are less likely to digress into a slouching position, and able to release any muscle tension. Also, avoid eating lunch at your desk and take a full break.

Why not consider using your computer as prompt to check your posture? Set hourly alarms which pop up on your screen reminding you to re-adjust your posture and positioning, or to take a quick break.

Carry out simple stretching exercises, either whilst sitting at your desk or on your short breaks. This will warrant good circulation and minimise the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Some top exercise techniques include:
- Pushing down on the tops of your fingers whilst using backwards resistance movements
- Roll shoulders forwards and backwards
- Rotate your neck and head left to right
- Stretch your legs and rotate ankles clockwise and anti-clockwise

It's a good idea to purchase a high quality office chair, possibly with orthopaedic features. These can be expensive but it’s worth spending the extra money, as the majority of your working life within an office environment is spent in a seated position.

If you follow these simple steps, you are more likely to be free on back pain, RSI and therefore reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.

Furthermore, if you are a free-lance writer or professional who needs to rent office space or desk space, Work Space Search is on hand to help you find flexible, fully equipped office space in locations all over the world.