Faculty and staff members at Texas Woman's University typically work with little to no breaks throughout the day. It is important to pay attention to how you are moving your body when working and how it is positioned.
If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my back hurting when I am sitting in front of my computer?” or “Why do my neck and shoulders hurt when mopping or vacuuming?” it may be because you are not properly positioned to perform your task.
Ergonomics evaluates the person, task, and the environment to:
- Optimize productivity
- Provide adjustments or accommodations to help mitigate musculoskeletal disorders, and
- Alleviate any discomfort you may be experiencing
Having poor posture while working can cause long-term musculoskeletal injuries, which are injuries primarily caused or exacerbated by risk factors such as sustained and repeated exertions of awkward postures and manipulations. TWU’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety is a great resource to help you learn about practicing proper ergonomics.
By practicing good posture, you are putting less strain on your body. This will help you be more productive and safer while working.
Some things you can do to best practice safe ergonomics include:
Set up your environment
- Organize your workstation by zones — Items you mainly use closer to you; items you occasionally use in the middle; and items you rarely use furthest from you
- Reduce glare from windows and lighting
- Reduce noise from distractions
- Study in comfortable temperature
Watch your posture
- Raise the monitor to eye level
- Screen distance should be an arm’s length away
- Keep elbows at your side at a 90-degree angle
- Maintain neutral wrists and forearms parallel to ground
- Rest feet flat on the ground and leave 3 inches of space between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat
Move your body
- Stretch every 30 minutes, for a duration of at least 5 minutes, while seated
- 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds
- Stay hydrated
- Take a deep breath, count to three, and exhale slowly
Even if you have the perfect posture and workstation set up, your body will fatigue if you are sitting for hours at a time. Our bodies are not meant to stay sedentary for long periods. It is important to take micro-breaks and stretch.
Visit the Environmental Health & Safety Ergonomics page for more information. Explore the faculty/staff ergonomics tab filled with resources and recommendations. If you would like to have your workstation and posture assessed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.