Have you ever experienced neck discomfort after a long day in the office?

Do you find yourself migrating towards the screen as the day progresses?

Or are you an employer wondering how to improve comfort for your workers in an office environment?

Neck pain is common amongst Australian office workers, with higher risk present among females and in cases where concurrent psychological stress is present. Neck related discomfort can be costly, with potential impacts on productivity, absenteeism and lost time for treatment and management.

Disorders of the neck can be multifactorial, but reducing exposure to sustained and awkward postures is one important step towards management. A few tips to assist comfort include:

1) Getting Your Chair Right

Poor seating can have a negative impact on spinal and neck posture. Ensure your seat height enables you to rest your forearms on the desk at approximately 90 degrees. Feet should sit flat on the ground (or a footstool) and not be curled up under the seat.

Position the backrest so support lies in the curvatureof your lower back (not too high or low), and ensure your spine remains in contact with the backrest. Sitting with your buttocks at the back of the seat can help you avoid forward migration of the neck as you concentrate.

2) Laptop extras

Consider connecting your laptop to a desktop screen whilst working. This is a simple change which can make a big difference when working over long periods of time. Alternatively, consider raising the height of the laptop (using a raise or even a book) and using a detachable keyboard and mouse to improve working posture.

3) Monitor Position

Ensure the viewing screen is directly in front, approximately arms-length away, with the top of the screen positioned slightly below eye–level. Screen position can play an important part in neck posture adopted during computer tasks. If you have dual screens, think about which screen is used most. If you use them 50:50, then have the screens joining directly in front of you. If one is used more than another (primary screen), place it more in your midline to avoid long periods of awkward neck postures.

4) Keyboard Posture

Ensure the keyboard isn’t migrating forwards on your desk because your neck may follow too. Instead, ensure your elbows remain comfortably in by your sides and forearms are rested on the desk.  Relax your shoulders and forearms.

5) Sit-to-Stand Workstation

Most importantly, ensure you stand and walk regularly to interrupt the cycle of prolonged sitting. The negative impacts of prolonged sitting are becoming more evident so limit sitting to 20 minutes bouts interspersed with standing or walking. Sit to stand workstations can provide one option to reduce sitting time at work. For more information read our previous article ‘I’ve got my sit to stand workstation – what now?’. When you do have breaks, ensure you move your neck, shoulders and arms to help with muscle activation, circulation and deloading joints.

These are just some of the possible changes that can help improve neck posture and discomfort. If you require more information contact AXIS today to discuss your needs.