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Is Your Desk Causing More Harm Than Good?

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

The last few years have bought changes around the world and one change in particular has been how we work. We have seen more and more jobs be converted to online and more workers moving from the office to a home office set up. So now the question remains, is your desk set up helping or hindering your health?

The Importance of Desk Ergonomics & Injury Prevention Proper workplace ergonomics is important to help you stay comfortable and avoid injury. This includes correct chair height, correct positioning of the keyboard, mouse and screen and good desk posture. An incorrect set up with any of these can result in aches and pains.

The most common injuries that arise from poor workplace set up include:

  • back pain

  • neck pain

  • shoulder pain

  • headaches

  • eye strain

  • overuse injuries in the wrist and hand

Studies suggest that up to 60-70% of full-time office staff will experience some degree of pain or injury over their working life. 62% of these claims are estimated to be work related muscle or soft tissue injuries. These injuries are preventable! Having proper workplace ergonomics can prevent these injuries as well as lead to overall improved health, increased productivity and improved work satisfaction

How to Prevent Desk-Related Workplace Injuries

Here are 4 strategies you can use to help support your own workspace:

Strategy 1:

Become body aware. The best posture is your next posture. Movement is key. Set yourself up with a good desk posture but don't forget to get up and move away from your workspace. Monitor your comfort levels and set reminders to move every hour. Recommendation is to take a 30 second break every 30 minutes and every hour get up and move for 1-3 minutes.

Strategy 2:

Plan your day to avoid overworking. Outline your deadlines, expectations and duties and be realistic with what you can achieve. Overworking may seem fine in the short term, but once you have a desk related injury this will ultimately deduct time from working in the long run. Be smart and don't overdo it.

Strategy 3:

Start your workday of right with a correct ergonomic desk set up. Look at the guide below which highlights a correct desk set up.

Pay special attention to the neck and head position to avoid slouching when you are staring at the screen. This can help prevent neck pain, shoulder pain, headaches and even eye strain.

Have the things you use the most, such as keyboard and mouse, within close reach so that your elbows remain relaxed at a 90 degree angle by your side. This will help prevent overuse injuries and also shoulder and neck pain.

Monitor your chair and desk height, your hips and knees should be at 90 degrees and your feet should be on a solid surface. This will help prevent lower back pain.

Strategy 4:

Be smart with your laptop. Laptops are handy tools however they can be detrimental to your health if used in poor locations, such as the couch, bed or at a poor desk set up for long periods of time. Look into improving its' ergonomics by getting a wireless keyboard and mouse and elevating the laptop screen to the correct height. You can use books to lift the laptop screen to a correct height, or look into getting a laptop specific stand. Prolonged excessive looking down at the laptop could lead to a slouched a posture, neck pain, back pain and even headaches.

Try these tips at home or at the office and make your desk work for your health.

If you begin to experience pain while working, osteopathy could help, so don't delay and contact us today to see how osteopathy could help you.

Sources: Internal and external sources include but are not limited to the Government of Canada – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety; Workplace Safety & Prevention Services; scholarly academic research articles; WorkSafe Victoria, Victorian Government Better Health

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1 Comment

Sep 13, 2022

Very informative. The visual helps a lot. Thank you so much !

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