In the Know
by Stephanie Sparks
“There’s not one best way to sit,” says Diane Stinson, Canadian certified professional ergonomist and senior consultant for Calgary’s HealthWorks. Finding the correct ergonomic setup changes from one employee to the next.
Take a Seat
Sitting with your hips at a 90-degree angle is only one way to practise proper ergonomics, says Stinson. A sitting position that allows the hips to open to a greater than 90-degree angle relieves compression on the discs in the spine. Recline back slightly or tilt your chair so your knees point down.
Stand and Deliver
Standing to work places the least compression on the discs in the spine. To stand and perform computer work, ensure you’re working at your approximate standing elbow height (where the elbow bends at 90 degrees from a standing position).
Adjusting to the Situation
“Some people will have their chair and set it for life,” says Stinson. “If you understand how to use the adjustments on your chair, you can change those.” Adjust your chair as much as needed throughout the day.
It doesn’t matter if you’re equipped with an ergonomist’s dream workstation. If you’ve developed the mindset to sit all day, you’ll likely continue to place stresses on your body. “If you’re sitting all the time, then stand up periodically to work,” says Stinson. “We even suggest to people to stand while they’re on the phone.”