Posture is the standing or sitting position of the body. When working on a computer workstation, one must take adequate care of posture. Many computer workstation users end up with health problems such as stress and strain on the muscles, tendons and skeletal system and are also susceptible to developing musculoskeletal disorders. Even good posture, when held for a long time, can lead to problems like fatigue and discomfort.
Correct Workstation Posture
One should try to maintain a neutral body position while working at a computer workstation. Neutral body position is a comfortable body posture in which your joints are naturally aligned. In a neutral body posture, the hands, wrists and forearms should be straight, in-line and almost parallel to the floor. The wrists should rest flat on the keyboard and not on a hard or sharp surface. The head should be level or bent slightly forward. It should be forward facing and preferably in-line with the torso. Shoulders should be relaxed with the upper arms hanging along the side of the body.
In the neutral position, workstation users should also keep the elbows close to the body and bent between 90 and 120 degrees. The feet should be flat on the floor. In case the height of the desk is not adjustable, the feet should rest on a footrest. Proper lumbar support for the back is very important in neutral positioning. The thighs and hips should be supported by well-padded seats and should be placed parallel to the floor. Also to avoid frequent changes of focus, try to maintain the same distance between your eyes and the display screen.
It is necessary to keep in mind that even if you maintain the best workstation posture, working in the same posture or sitting still for longer periods of time can be harmful. Hence users must change their working position frequently throughout the day by adjusting the chair or backrest and stretching the hands, arms and torso. It is also advisable to stand up and move around for some time periodically.
Workstation Design And Posture
The primary aim of designing a workstation should be comfort and not good looks. Proper design is one which takes into account the effects of postural discomfort. If a person sits in the same uncomfortable position for a long period of time, the body may experience symptoms like increased load on the spine, reduced blood flow to muscles resulting in numbness and pain and increased pooling of blood in the legs and feet. Improper positioning of the arms can lead to problems such as shoulder and elbow discomfort. Wrong posture can also cause wrist and hand discomfort among workstation users. Hence while designing a workstation it is necessary to consider all these aspects.
The chair is an important part of this design as the body conforms to the curves of the chair and the backrest. Other factors which are important while designing a posture-friendly workstation include the height of the work surface, keyboard, mouse and the monitor. Even the position of the telephone and lighting can affect your position at the workstation.
The workstation should be designed in such a way that it allows the user to sit with head held upright and following the curve of the spine. It should allow the users to place the wrists in the neutral position, arms horizontal at an angle of 90 degrees at the elbow and thighs parallel to the floor. Wrist rests can used to provide a soft, padded surface for the palm of the hand. A proper footrest should be provided so that there is a 90 degree angle at the ankle. As standard furniture may not be suitable for different people using the workstation, adjustable furniture may be required in situations where users share the same workstation.