Office Worker

Advice for the Office Worker

Heavitree Osteopaths Exeter recommend that if you are an office worker you take regular breaks. There are several reasons why this can be very beneficial. Having suitably designed office equipment is very also important. A well thought out working environment will reduce the discomfort of sitting for sustained periods but will not eliminate it.
It is important to take periodic breaks to :

Avoid Postural Fatigue

Static postures where certain muscles are continually contracted in one position (such as the back muscles keeping you upright whilst typing at the keyboard) can cause muscle dysfunction and pain. This can be avoided by getting up and moving around for just a few minutes during the course of your work.

Avoid Visual Fatigue

Eyes can begin to fatigue if they are used in a prolonged and sustained manner such as looking at a computer screen for too long. It is important to prevent this by changing your visual focus regularly… in other words focus on anything else but the screen for a short while. Taking a break for a few minutes can help improve concentration. Try and stay well hydrated.

Improved Productivity

Taking regular breaks can improve productivity levels. Try and get up and stretch muscles before they begin to ache, perhaps taking a quick stroll around the office when you can. Most research shows that taking a 2-3 minute break every 20 minutes is best. Of course this isn’t always practical but at least it gives some idea of what we should be trying to achieve.

A break can also be a change in posture. Alternating between using the computer with tasks such as filing or relaxing back in your chair to make a series of phone calls allows your postural muscles to rest. Design in some forced breaks such as positioning the printer away from your desk so that you have to get up to retrieve your work. Visual breaks are easier to achieve. Follow the rule of 20s : every 20 minutes, look 20 foot away for about 20 seconds. Jogging your memory to take a break can be helped by visual reminders on your PC or using a diary application to pop up and routinely remind you to take a quick break.