One of my close friends was recently in a car accident, leaving him with a neck injury. He works as a MUD coder and his primary job involves long hours at the keyboard. It’s simply far too uncomfortable and sometimes even painful for him to sit on just any chair.
After the accident, he told me he realised two things: one, that comfort is a lot more than just a new chair when you factor in all your limbs, and two, being more comfortable has actually increased his productivity.
For people who spend long hours in front of a computer, getting the most out of your time is important. We all know the risks of sitting in front of a screen for too long, and the negative impact it can have on our mental and physical health. If you’re sitting on a wooden kitchen chair with a cushion for comfort, you’re going to need to stand and stretch a lot more. There are a ton of studies that can be Googled linking worker’s health and productivity directly to their comfort.
Every Angle Counts
While my friend was being treated by his chiropractor, he realised he had to factor in all sorts of things like his neck angle, shoulder spacing, lumbar support, you name it. Any aggravation of his injury could result in throbbing muscle pain that led to tension headaches. Realising that I’d been experiencing back soreness for a while now, I decided to take some of my friend’s insight and apply it to my own work environment.
The five most important factors:
- The most comfortable chair you can find – This is the first and foremost because you really cannot overlook the importance of quality seating. It’s tempting to just run out to the office supply store and pick the comfiest one from the floor models. My friend’s chiropractor told him that every person has a unique shape, and that the chairs they are using were not built for them. The chiropractor recommended a company that lets you fill out a form and they’ll send you a chair designed for your sitting habits.
- A desk at the proper height – Desks come in many flavours, but the best kind for computer work is one that allows you to slide your keyboard out over your lap. Your feet need to be comfortably resting on the ground, so you shouldn’t need to raise (or lower) your chair past your natural state of sitting. If you need to reach upwards to type instead of straight out in front of you, your desk is probably too high.
- A mousepad with wrist support – One of the most common office injuries is carpal tunnel syndrome due to improper mouse technique. The way you hold your wrist can affect your trapezius muscle, which extends from your neck down to your spine. That shoulder and neck discomfort you may feel while using the computer is from the lack of a good wrist support, and they’re widely available.
- Personal health and exercise – While being comfortable is most important, productivity can also be linked to your mood and stress level. Pent up energy and poor diet can lead to crankiness and restlessness, which will make it difficult to focus on your tasks. My friend’s chiropractor didn’t just treat his neck injury, he put him on a diet and exercise plan for the most effective recovery! Try eating healthy for a couple of weeks, then see how tired and unproductive you feel after eating junk food. It’s a noticeable difference!
- Taking a typing course – Improper typing techniques, such as the “hunt and peck” method, can lead to cramping in the fingertips. It can get to the point where every keystroke sends a pain down your fingers, leading to a complete inability to finish tasks. It could be worth taking a typing course, for reasons including faster typing speed to get more done in less time, and proper typing technique to reduce chance of strain.
Increasing Productivity Equals More Free Time
Being more productive at the computer can give you more free time to hang out with your family, or go outside and do things you enjoy. If your work environment isn’t comfortable enough, you’re not getting the most efficient work performance from yourself. The advice given to my friend from a chiropractor, was convincing enough for me to make some changes of my own to my work environment, and I encourage you to do the same. Your productivity will thank you!
Rachel Cook loves to write inspirational articles that can help others get the information they need, and so she of course needs a very comfortable seat from which to type her actions. When her friend got into a car accident and visited a Brighton MI Chiropractic, she found out there are many options for healing.