Common features of many workstations are laptops, touch-screens or other similar electronic devices that are equipped with some form of a display screen. However, if your workstation is improperly organized, these devices could cause you to develop upper limb disorders as well as fatigue and eye strain. While most of these conditions are not considered life threatening, they can be costly to treat and possibly even debilitating.
As a result, it’s important that you mitigate the potential risks by implementing one of more of the following three strategies:

Adopt a proper posture.

  • Sit close enough to your keyboard so that your shoulders, wrists and hands are relaxed.
  • Sit up straight so that your back is firmly but comfortably against the chair back and your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Have enough room below your desk to sufficiently stretch your legs

Ensure that your workstation is well-organized.

  • Arrange your desk to accommodate all necessary documents and other office equipment.
  • Position your monitor directly in front of you at eye level so that you do not have to twist or turn your neck.
  • Aim your monitor away from any windows to reduce glare, which, over an extended period of time, could lead to sore eyes or headaches.

Take a break from your work.

  • Take three one- to two-minute breaks each hour to exercise your eyes by focusing on a distant object and then at an object nearby.
  • Take a five-minute break each hour to stretch and relax your back, neck, arm and leg muscles. A walk around the office is a good way to do this.

Real-life Case Study

Jessica worked as an assistant manager in a boutique shop but had difficulty handling argumentative customers. Each time an unruly customer confronted her about a return, Jessica would go nearly silent out of intimidation. Generally, during these situations, Jessica would attempt to explain how she was unable to fulfill the request as it was against the shop’s policy. This answer would cause some customers to become more infuriated—costing the shop return business.
While this was not a frequent occurrence, Jessica wanted to improve her skills in dealing with dissatisfied customers. Examining her current process, Jessica realized that it was partially her lack of assertiveness that was affecting her ability to handle these customers. To improve, Jessica worked to accept that some customers would never be satisfied—regardless of the outcome. For those that could be, she rehearsed responses to common issues. That way, when a customer came in with an issue, she was able to confidently respond to his or her complaint. Now, Jessica is able to effectively handle unruly customers without going silent.