A Work Space Worth De-Stressing Over

For many, the start of a new year means letting go of bad habits and adopting new ones for a year filled with happiness and success. With public relations in the top ten most stressful jobs of 2013 – right alongside active military officials, firefighters and commercial air pilots – there’s no better time to take a moment away from our work life frenzy to start fresh in 2014.

Here’s the down and dirty ergonomics check for all pr pros looking to maximize time and minimize stress while spending countless hours at their desks.

1.     Keep the things you love (or loathe) close to you. Most pr pros spend their days answering phone calls, writing pitches and taking notes. All of the supplies needed for daily operations should be within an arm’s length.

2.     If you have a corner, use it. The distance between you and your monitor should be at least 20 inches and typically corners can provide you with that kind of space. Additionally, corner desktops provide additional room for items you regularly use without cluttering.

3.     Brace yourself. According to Occupational Safety & Health Administration, hard edges that come into contact with wrists or arms have the potential to cause contact stress. Built up contact stress affects nerves and blood vessels and could even cause tingling or soreness in fingers.

4.     Keep your chin up. Working while staring down or up at your computer monitor for prolonged periods of time causes fatigue in the muscles that support your head, which leads to tension and headaches. OSHA recommends the top of your monitor be at or slightly below eye level.

5.     Stand if you see fit. Standing desks have been popping up all over the world, especially in trendy start-ups and tech companies such as Facebook and Google. With claims such as 10 percent increases in productivity and reduced back and neck pain, replacing a traditional desk with a standing one seems to help more than hurt. If you’re considering a standing desk alterative, learn how to make one for $22.

Something missing? Share your best ergonomic practices by commenting below!

Wishing you all a prosperous, productive and (do we dare say it?) low-stress new year.