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Adjust Your Task Chair with These 4 Simple Steps

Ergonomic desk chairs are more than just additions to a workspace: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recommends the use of ergonomic chairs that foster a neutral, comfortable working posture. Ergonomics not only promote good posture and, in turn, physical health, but can create a more pleasant work environment that promotes productivity.

1. Adjust the chair to your height

One of the most important aspects of ergonomic seating is the height of the chair. Sitting in a chair that is too low can force one to raise the arms to reach the keyboard, causing strain in the neck, shoulders and upper back. It also encourages rounding of the spine and places added tension on the tailbone and buttocks. Adversely, seating that is too high places pressure on the thighs and back of the knees, cutting off circulation in the lower extremities.

A good chair height supports the thighs evenly and allows the feet to sit flat on the floor. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety outlines suggestions for adjusting the chair to your height:

  • Stand up in front of the chair and raise or lower it so that the top of the seat cushion when parallel to the floor is at a height just below the knee cap.
  • Sit down on the chair with feet flat on the floor. Ensure there is about 2 inches of clearance between the front edge of the seat and the calves. Achieving this may require you to adjust the tilt.
Herman Miller Aeron chairThe Herman Miller Aeron chair has a tilt function that echoes the natural body mechanics.

2. Tilt according to your task and comfort

In general, a slightly forward tilting chair is the most comfortable for basic computer usage. However, variation is key to avoid placing continuous pressure and strain on certain parts of the body. A backward tilt allows the user to recline slightly, and a horizontal seat is ideal for sitting erect and upright.

“The key is selecting a highly flexible ergonomic office chair.”

Since tilt should be adjusted regularly to mix up position, the key is to select an ergonomic office chair that is highly flexible and easy to adjust quickly while still providing a frame that disperses pressure and allows the feet to sit flat on the floor. For example, the Herman Miller Aeron chair is designed with a tilt action that echoes the body’s mechanics and provides support that stabilizes the pelvis for a natural curvature.

3. Alter the armrests

Adjustable armrests are an important feature to ergonomic office chairs, as improper arm positioning can lead to strain in the neck and shoulders. When armrests are too low, the user might be more inclined to slouch forward to rest his or her limbs. If too high, the user may be forced to hunch the shoulders when placing the forearms on the rests.

The proper armrest height for good ergonomics should be at around the same height as the point of one’s elbow when bent at a 90-degree angle, according to OSHA. This positioning allows one to place his or her forearms on the rests with the arms slightly lifted at the shoulders, taking weight off the shoulders and shifting it to the elbow.

Adjustable lumbar support allows you to easily alter the chair back to conform to your spine's natural curvature.Adjustable lumbar support allows you to easily alter the chair back to conform to your spine’s natural curvature.

4. Adjust the backrest for optimal lumbar support

Perhaps the most essential feature of an ergonomic office chair is lumbar support, which minimizes tension on the back and prevents slouching. The aim is to match the backrest to the contour of the spine when seated in a neutral position. You may need to adjust the backrest by raising or lowering it so that it fits snugly in the natural curvature of the spine and pushes the back forward. However, high-end chairs such as the Herman Miller Celle provide a lumbar adjustment function. The lumbar support should feel firm, and you should not feel any pressure points in the back.

– See more at: http://blog.officedesigns.com/health-well-being/4-simple-steps-to-adjusting-your-task-chair/#sthash.k1GyB3Dn.dpuf

If you need help picking out the perfect office chair, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (757) 855-2800.

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20 Ways to Create an Impressive Office Reception Area

It may be a cliché, but it’s true: You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The old but wise adage rings particularly cutthroat in business.

Within milliseconds of entering your office, potential clients make up their minds about you and your company. In a glance, they instantly decide how trustworthy you are, if you’re broke or in the money and, oftentimes, if you’re good enough to do business with.

While you can’t control what people think, you can pad the first impression deck in your favor – and not just with a bowl of M&Ms and a comfy padded couch in your reception area. There are countless ways you can convey the success and professionalism of your business right in your entryway.

From offering a welcoming smile (this should be a given) to sprucing your space up with lush (real, not fake!) plants, to lighting up your logo to offering free Wi-Fi, here are 20 ways you can make a positive, lasting first impression with your office reception, all neatly tucked into an infographic by U.K. interior design firm SEC Interiors.

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View the original article & full infographic here: 20 Ways to Create an Impressive Office Reception Area (Infographic).

 

How To Survive Your Desk Job: Stand Up

What is the best way to stay active at work when you have a desk job? According to this article, simply standing up every 20 minutes can make a huge impact on your health.
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Five or more hours of sedentary sitting, according to Dr. David Agus, is the health equivalent of smoking a pack and a quarter of cigarettes. Yikes.

Yet, sitting around is something we get plenty of practice at. Reading and writing and creating on a computer makes for big chunks of sedentary time. If you’re reading this post right now, are you sitting down? How long have you been sitting?

It’s a topic that I think of often. We’ve all kind of taken a shining to it on the Buffer team, being more aware of the time we spend in front of the computer, how we take breaks, how we focus on exercise and movement. And we’re not alone. There is tons of interest out there about the healthiest way to survive a sedentary job–from the health recommendations to the tools to the activities.

So what is indeed the healthiest way? And what can you change about your style today to get the biggest benefit?

Here’re some ideas.

THE HEALTHIEST WAY TO SURVIVE A SEDENTARY JOB

Science says:

Stand up every 20 minutes.

Studies have shown that our bodies can benefit from simply standing up, contracting muscles, and moving. Think of standing as pushing a reset button on your body. If you press the reset button before the timer hits 20 minutes, you’ll avoid any of the negative side effects of a sedentary job.

Gretchen Reynolds, a reporter on exercise research for the New York Times, wrote a book condensing health studies down to their most essential parts. One of the key takeaways from her research was this emphasis on standing up and the golden 20-minute mark.

New science shows very persuasively that standing up about every 20 minutes, even for only a minute or two, reduces your risks of developing diabetes and heart disease.

By standing up, you cause the big muscles in your legs and back to contract, which leads to an increase in certain enzymes that break up fat in the blood stream. You don’t have to jog in place or do jumping jacks. Just stand. A very pleasant additional benefit is that standing up every 20 to 30 minutes also seems to prompt the body to burn calories, so you don’t gain as much weight from sitting at the office most of the day.

Even more from Reynolds:

If you can stand up every 20 minutes–even if you do nothing else–you change how your body responds physiologically.

Other studies confirm the benefit of this simple act of standing. For instance, a study of employees at New Balance shoe headquarters showed that performing an activity every 30 minutes–standing, walking, stretching–improved not only health but also engagement and concentration.

So now the question becomes: How do you stand up every 20 minutes?

START SMALL: SET A TIMER FOR 20 MINUTES

At Buffer, each person on the team is equipped with a Jawbone Up to track our movement, activity levels, and sleep. At the end of every day, we can see how we moved (or didn’t move). For instance, here’s my Thursday.

Those big, flat valleys are exactly the types of inactive stretches it’s best to avoid.

Solution: The UP band lets you set a move reminder that causes your wristband to buzz after a certain amount of inactivity. Bingo! Set it to 20 minutes, and stand up when it buzzes.

Other fitness bands offer similar functionality, too. And if you’d prefer to keep things super straightforward, you can go with a trusty phone or kitchen timer to set a manual notification for yourself.

MOVE TO A NEW AREA: WORKSTATION POPCORN

One of our favorite work hacks on the Buffer team is workstation popcorn.

You start your day with a to-do list, then plan your list around different cafes, coffee shops, and workstations, popping from one to the next once you’ve completed a set of tasks.

For instance, you might start the day at the office, spend the late morning at a coffee shop, hit a co-working space in the afternoon, and return to the office conference room to wrap up your day.

Walking in between each work place injects multiple opportunities for movement into your day. Though you won’t be popping from station to station every 20 minutes, you can supplement the 20-minute rule with these popcorn intervals, helping you achieve more consistent movement throughout the day.

Read the rest of the article here

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