Your Spine Wasn’t Built To Hunch Over a Desk All Day

If you care about your posture and the health of your spine – today and for years to come – these tips for tech workers have your back. Spending all day at a desk hunched over a laptop is hardly what nature intended, and sitting there day after day after day can take its toll if you’re not careful. Spinal problems can lead to pain, loss of mobility, and disability. But a desk job is not a death sentence for your posture and your back so long you take these simple but important steps to keep your back in line.

Here are five easy tips for tech workers to safeguard your spinal health.

1.  Fight The Tendency To Slouch

“Sit up straight!” your mom and teachers constantly told you. And, as it turns out, they were right. Despite their name, “laptops” are better used on a desk if you want to avoid damage to your spine. That’s not to say you can never put it on your lap; just limit it to 20 minutes or less each time.

When you’re working at your desk, try to keep your feet firmly planted on the floor rather than crossed at the ankle or knee, or sitting with one leg tucked beneath you.  Keep your elbows by your side so your arms form an L-shape at the elbow joint.

2.  Get Yourself A Good Chair

This is one of the best tips for tech workers who want to safeguard their spinal health. Why? People invest money in a good bed because they spend a lot of time in it every single day and a better bed means better sleep. Similarly, you should purchase a high-quality ergonomic chair because you spend a lot of time in it and you’ll work better.

Purchase an easily adjustable chair so you can change the height, tilt, and back position. Adjust the chair such that your knees are just lower than your hips while you’re sitting. Set the height so your wrists and forearms are straight and level with the floor while you are using your keyboard. Not only will this help your posture, it can also minimize the chances of developing a repetitive stress injury that affects your spinal column.

3.  Pay Attention To Ergonomics

GTN - tips for tech workers to protect spinal health - ergonomicsThese next tips for tech workers go right along with getting a good chair – set up your desk to be ideal for your body’s ergonomic needs. Whether you keep your desk meticulous or have piles of papers and old coffee mugs scattered about, how you set up the basics of your desk – your computer, keyboard, monitor, and mouse –  plays a big role in whether you will have good posture as you work.

If you work on a laptop all day, getting an external keyboard and mouse will allow your wrists to sit in a natural position while typing and clicking, regardless of where you put your laptop screen on your desk. Even with desktop computers, place your keyboard directly in front of you, keeping it about four to six inches from the front of your desk so your wrists can rest when you’re not typing.

As for your screen/monitor, it should be directly in front of you, not off to either side unless it is absolutely necessary, such as because you work with multiple monitors. Regardless of how many screens you use, the top of the screen should be near eye level. You may need a monitor stand or a laptop raiser to get it there, but even a sturdy box or large book placed under your computer will do the trick. Keeping your monitor at eye level will prevent neck strain from looking down all the time.

Your screen/monitor can also cause spinal discomfort if you can’t see what’s on the screen without leaning over to get a better look. Sitting in that position all day is not healthy for your spine. You should be able to clearly see what’s on your screen while sitting up straight. You may need a bigger monitor, but just adjusting the font size on your settings may keep you from hunching over your desk. As an added benefit, making these adjustments to your monitor can help tech staff with eye strain.

4.  Strengthen Your Core

A strong core and spinal health go hand in hand. Keeping your core muscles strong will make it easier to sit and stand up straight rather than slouching. Try to do exercises that strengthen your core at least three times a week.

5.  Take Regular Breaks

Taking breaks is one of our favorite tips for tech workers because of the benefits to more than just spinal health. Sitting in the same position for eight hours straight affects not just your back and neck, it also affects your productivity. Throughout the day, take frequent short breaks (about once an hour) to stand up or walk around your office or home. Your back muscles will get a break, you will prevent eye strain from looking at a computer screen all day, and your productivity will increase. Additionally or alternatively, do some simple stretches while at your desk, such as stretching your neck, shoulders, arms, and legs.

Looking For More Tips For Tech Workers? Contact GTN Technical Staffing To Learn How We Can Position You For Success.

If you are a talented tech professional looking to advance your career, GTN Technical Staffing has the global resources and industry experience to connect you with the world’s top IT companies. Contact us today to learn how we can help position you for success.

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