Ac­tion Sta­tions

A slick, clean desk is as good for headspace as it is for pro­duc­tiv­ity, but an in­tel­li­gently as­sem­bled work­sta­tion is even bet­ter for your body. Fol­low our tips to im­prove your health and wealth – and you might be able to knock off early, too

Men's Health (Australia) - - MH Boss -


Power Plant Main­tain­ing desk­top shrub­bery does more than prove you can han­dle re­spon­si­bil­ity. Ex­eter Univer­sity dis­cov­ered green­ery made em­ploy­ees 15 per cent more pro­duc­tive. A study in the Jour­nal of En­vi­ron­men­tal Psy­chol­ogy also found that fauna re­duces fa­tigue on de­mand­ing tasks. Suc­cu­lents are hip and pretty un­kil­l­able.


Per­fect Form “The ideal when typ­ing is to have your fore­arms par­al­lel to the floor and el­bows at 90 de­grees,” says Dr Kelly Star­rett, fit­ness guru and author of

Deskbound. If you put strain on your wrists, you risk de­vel­op­ing carpal tun­nel syn­drome and shoul­der in­sta­bil­ity. You want nei­ther.


Screen Wipe “Al­ways po­si­tion your mon­i­tor so the top is at eye level,” says Star­rett. This way, you won’t end up slouch­ing. As for dis­tance, if the screen’s too close, you’ll strain your eyes; too far away, you’ll crane your neck. The tip of your mid­dle fin­ger should just brush the screen with an out­stretched arm. That’s a good rule of, er, thumb.


Mouse Trap “The same prin­ci­ples ap­ply to your mouse,” says Star­rett. Try mov­ing the mouse from your shoul­der, not your wrist. Avoid an­gling your wrist by keep­ing it in line with your fore­arm – which is par­al­lel to the floor – with your el­bow to the side. Re­mem­ber, your mouse should sit next to your hand, not across the desk.


Snap Judge­ment Ex­eter Univer­sity has es­tab­lished that em­ploy­ees who adorn their desks in­crease out­put by as much as 32 per cent. How­ever, too many me­men­tos are un­pro­fes­sional: the tip­ping point, re­veals the Uni of Michi­gan, is one per­sonal item for ev­ery five on your desk. Leave your kids’ draw­ings at home.


Write Stuff Putting pen to dead tree helps you re­tain in­for­ma­tion bet­ter than tap­ping a lap­top, ac­cord­ing to re­search in Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence.

Mean­while, the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia has found that blue pre­cip­i­tates twice as much cre­ative out­put as red. You’d bet­ter get a new note­book.


Sit­ting Pretty Er­gonomic chairs might look sup­port­ive but, iron­i­cally, they’re “al­most im­pos­si­ble to achieve a good po­si­tion in”, ac­cord­ing to Star­rett. It’s far bet­ter to perch on the edge of a flat wooden or metal seat, legs ‘manspread’. That way, you’ll main­tain an oak-solid trunk, pre­vent stiff­ness or pain in your hips, and you might even get up ev­ery 20-30 min­utes.


Stand & De­liver Stand­ing 9-5 might sound ex­haust­ing, but Cornell Uni stud­ies show that fa­tigue from stay­ing on your feet eases up af­ter a few months. If that still seems ex­treme, a sit-stand desk lets you pe­ri­od­i­cally take a load off your pins. Hy­draulic mod­els can be ex­pen­sive; a crank-han­dle ver­sion is more af­ford­able.

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