I once got a job working at a prestigious financial institution as an auditor. I felt important wearing suits and making a big paycheck.
On my first day working at this company, I was REQUIRED to go to a training class to learn how to use my chair. Does that seem ridiculous? It did to me. I already know how to sit.
When I got to the training room, there were other people there, and a few of them were wearing suits, but most were wearing security uniforms, chef's or janitor uniforms. I thought for sure that I was in the wrong place, but the lady running the show insisted that I was right where I should be.
She began her presentation about the chairs, and how to use the different features and then I interrupted her again. I assured her that I already knew how to sit, thank you. I had been hired to do an important job, and I didn't understand why she was wasting my valuable time showing me how to operate a chair.
She was very patient with me, and let me know that the company had spent nearly $1,000 for each of the computer desk chairs that each employee was to use. With so many employees, the total cost had added up to over $1Million !! That IS a lot of money for a place to sit, so why did the company spend all that money? Were our leaders fools? Were they wasteful?
The answer was obviously, "No." The company had done research and found out that if they spent money on quality chairs, and then taught their people how to use them properly, then the employees wouldn't become as fatigued from their work.
They would avoid getting backaches, neck aches, and headaches. They would feel better at the end of the day, and they would not have to call in sick as much. They wouldn't miss work to go to doctor appointments or the chiropractor.
In fact, the company found that for the small price of the chairs and training, productivity went up. The staff got more done, they were absent from work less often, and they were also rewarded with lower health care costs. The company actually SAVED TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS in the years to follow.
So, how should you sit?
- You should sit back in your chair, so the chair back pushes on your lower back, keeping your posture up
- your chair height should be adjusted so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- your shins should be more or less straight up and down, and
- your feet should be flat on the floor
- your shoulders should hang loose and relaxed, and
- your forearms should also be fairly parallel to the ground
- your wrists should be straight so your hand come straight out from your forearms
- your keyboard should adjust so that it is right below where your hands are, and
- YOU SHOULD NEVER REST YOUR WRISTS ON THE TABLE OR THE KEYBOARD
- your computer monitor should be adjusted so that the top of it is about 2 inches below your level line of sight, so that when you rotate your head down just a bit,
- you look down slightly at your monitor (this takes the pressure off of your neck.)
Watch this Youtube video of Keyboarding Do's and Don't's
Check out the Ergonomics Web pages at Cornell University
Here is how WebMD says you should arrange your work space when keyboarding to avoid pain or injury.
Think you got this? See how you do with the Cornell Ergonomic workstation survey HERE in PDF format.