Increasing numbers of people now work in jobs which require computer use. This has led to a re-evaluation of how health and safety should be applied to office spaces, as more and more workers suffer health issues directly related to their occupation. While the issues are entirely different to those experienced by manual workers, they are no less serious.
One of the main problems suffered by desk workers is back pain, something which almost anyone who has had to sit still for long periods will have experienced. The easiest thing to do to prevent back pain occurring is to make sure that your seat is properly adjusted so that it supports your back. This is especially important if you work at home, where health and safety regulations cannot, for obvious reasons, be implemented.
The key thing to remember is not to slump in your chair, as this can compound any health issues which might be occurring. Anyone who works at home needs an adjustable chair. Height, back position and tilt should all be able to be altered to suit you. Ideally, your knees should be level with your hips, but you may need a foot rest for this too. The chair should be set at a height at which the keyboard can be used, with your wrists and forearms held straight, and level with the floor. Feet should be flat on the floor, and your elbows at the side of your body, forming L-shapes. If you feel yourself slumping, make an effort to straighten your back and adjust your chair, if necessary.
The negative effects of back pain should not be underestimated, either. A recent report from the Institute of Medicine in the USA found that the annual value of lost productivity ranged between $297.4 billion to 335.5 billion, by 2010 values. This total was arrived at by estimating days of work missed, hours of work loser and reductions in wages as a result of absence. They estimate that back pain alone costs American employers something like $7.4 billion annually.
If you suffer with back pain then stretching can be a good way of finding some relief. There are several basic stretches which can be performed in your own home, and performing them several times throughout the working day should keep your back in good health. A medical professional can often provide specific advice about stretching techniques, and you should consult one of these for a health assessment if in doubt. It is also important to get up and walk around from time to time, to give yourself a break from sitting.