Top tips for staying comfortable at work

Sep 22, 2016, 11:01 AM by Lela Lockett-Ware, certified ergonomics assessment specialist and institutional ADA officer

Whether you sit or stand, have a desk job or provide patient care, a comfortable workspace can help you feel your best. Following some of these ergonomic tips will help to decrease fatigue, discomfort and physical stress while increasing comfort and productivity.

  • Stretch at least three times a day. In the morning before you begin working, in the afternoon and at the end of your workday. Stretching helps reduce muscle tension caused when a person stays in one position for too long. Hold each stretch position for about 20 seconds.
  • Take a break. Stand up and walk around every 45 minutes to 1 hour if you work in a seated position. Grab a cup of coffee or take a leisurely walk around the building—this allows you to rest and exercise different muscles and you’ll feel less tired. When in doubt, listen to your body—if you experience pain or discomfort, take a break.
  • Don’t cross or sit on your legs. It restricts blood flow and can cause numbness and tingling. Keeping legs crossed for extended periods can decrease circulation, which can lead to nerve or tissue damage. Keep both feet flat on the floor and use a foot rest to elevate your feet if needed.
  • Don’t be a slouch. Good posture reduces your risk for long-term back, shoulder and neck problems. Sit back in your chair and avoid leaning forward to prevent back strain or discomfort. Move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and reaching and make sure to scoot your chair in every time you sit down.Lighting. When considering office lighting and how it may or may not impact your ergonomic set-up:
    • Don’t go too dim or too bright. You want to find a happy medium to reduce the glare and strain on the eyes.
    • If possible, go for soft yellow or soft white LED lighting, as it is more soothing and calming.
    • Note the placement of lighting/fixtures to avoid glare. Don’t position monitors near windows, as this will increase glare.
  • Get an ergonomics consultation. You don’t have to be injured or returning from surgery to receive an ergonomics evaluation. UTMB offers free ergonomic assessments to determine what, if any, ergonomic adjustments might be appropriate. Simply fill out an evaluation request at