With 86% of Americans spending most of their day sitting in the office, it’s not surprising that people develop disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, poor vision, and obesity. This makes it ever more important to have an office that is designed to provide support and improve the health of its workers.
In this post we profile 5 technologies you should introduce to your office to improve the overall health and productivity of you and your workers.
Sitting down for long periods of time is linked to different diseases and even early death. To counter this, consider using a standing desk which can be adjusted to accommodate a sitting or standing position. With this in your office, you can prevent staying in one position for too long.
In fact, a recent study found that using a sit-stand desk can reduce the risk of early death, cardiovascular disease, back issues, and type 2 diabetes. Plus, participants who used standing desks had experienced less fatigue, less anxiety, and improved overall quality of life.
Another equipment that you can use to stay healthy in the office is a yoga ball. Also known as a stability ball, try switching this with your office chair to improve your balance, strengthen your abdominal muscles, promote good posture, and help you burn more calories. A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that its use can also improve focus, making you more productive.
One thing you need to remember is that yoga balls should only be used for short periods of time. They’re not adjustable and lack the support that you need to prevent musculoskeletal disorders.
Choose an appropriately sized stability ball (diameter) according to your height:
- 4’11” to 5’4” – 55 cm
- 5’5” to 5’11” – 65 cm
- More than 6’ – 75 cm
Split Ergonomic Keyboard
Standard keyboards cause ulnar deviation, increasing the pressure on the median nerve inside the wrist which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This makes a split ergonomic keyboard such as the Microsoft Sculpt a better alternative, since it encourages a neutral wrist position.
This type of keyboard also only requires a light touch when typing, eliminating the need to forcefully press the keys. Plus, it’s easier to make complex key combinations. This means that, once you get used to its design, you’ll be able to type faster.
The split keyboard design is especially beneficial for people with large body types who may find it difficult to reach a standard keyboard.
There are two types of split ergonomic keyboards:
- Fixed-Split Keyboard – a single piece wherein the keys are divided into groups and placed into different angles. A popular example of this is the MS Sculpt.
- Adjustable Split Keyboard – a keyboard that is split into two pieces for easy adjustment.
Blue Light Free Monitor
According to a University of Toledo study published in 2018, the blue light coming from computer monitors can kill the photoreceptor cells in the eyes, which do not regenerate, causing macular degeneration. With this, the eyes get fatigued easily and the risk of vision loss is increased. Blue light can also cause headaches and even sleep disorders.
In light of this (no pun intended), consider using monitors that are low in blue light like the ones Asus offers. But, if you don’t want to get another monitor, you can also install a protective monitor cover which filters blue light. Another option is to wear blue light blocking glasses.
Last but not least, we have kneeling chairs that have an angled seat which shifts your body forward, and shin rests which evenly distribute one’s weight between the knees and buttocks.
The benefits of using a kneeling chair include:
- The prevention of lumbar lordosis, or the excessive inward curve of the lumbar and cervical spine
- When set at a 20° inclination, helps maintain standing lumbar curvature
- Improves breathing and digestion
- Strengthens the core and back muscles
- Improves blood circulation and enhances focus
Kneeling chairs are not recommended for prolonged use, though, since they can restrict leg movement after prolonged usage. This can limit blood flow to the lower limbs and cause shin pain. The key is to only use a kneeling chair for short periods of time, alternating it with a good ergonomic office chair.
Technology Can’t Solve Everything
At the end of the day, these technologies are only effective if you combine them with healthy work practices. For example, even if you use an ergonomic office chair and alternate it with a yoga ball, it’s still better for your health if you take a short walk and stretch every now and then. Commit to making these changes, and you’ll be able to improve your health in the office.