The latest big thing in back care in the workplace appears to be the sit-stand workstation. Again, it’s been in the news both here and in the USA that sitting – not just slouching, but sitting in any form – for long periods is unnatural and dangerous. To avoid the evils of our chairs, what we apparently need to do (this month) is to spend loads of cash on a super-adjustable desk that we can use both sitting and standing. There are even versions available with a treadmill attachment.*
At this point I want to quote my American colleague, Lynn Brice Rosen: aaaaaargh…
When we start having problems with discomfort at our desks, it is SO tempting to look for the magic bullet: the one perfect product that will solve all our problems. I know this, because I’ve experienced it. When I was a postgrad student and my arms started hurting while I worked, I bought a fancy chair. I bought an ergonomic keyboard. I bought a fancy mouse.
I slouched on the fancy chair. I was smarter than it was.
I thumped away on the fancy keyboard.
I held the mouse in a death grip and crashed down on it whenever I clicked.
The stuff didn’t help. It just didn’t help.
The problem wasn’t the poor design of my equipment. The problem was me.
The problem wasn’t what I was doing. The problem was how I was doing it.
That’s why I despair every time I see a new report telling people to go out and spend money on stuff to fix their problems. Because I know that if most of them just stopped and really thought about HOW they were going about what they were doing, they could make substantial improvements to their wellbeing.
So if you’re suffering at your desk, this is my suggested plan of attack:
- Go to the GP and have it checked out. There may be a medical condition that needs attention.
- Set reminders so that you get up and move around. The Pomodoro Technique suggests 25 minute work periods.
- Have you left your pelvis behind? Experiment with rotating your pelvis forwards.
- Try the 50% less game. Can you type or click using half as much force?
And when you’ve tried these ideas, send me a message and let me know how you’re getting on. We really don’t need to spend money on more STUFF to make improvements to our wellbeing!
* You, like my husband, may feel that you’ve been on a treadmill at work, metaphorically speaking, for a while and have no wish to make it literal!