Each month we feature a short editorial from one or more of our strategic partners containing useful information related to work and life.
1.) Club 360: Desk-Fit 360 Part 2 – Better check yourself before you wreck your health.
In part two, we discuss some basic guidelines for setting up your workstation.
If we take a historical view of ergonomics, as the use of computers has increased over the past three decades, the design of workplace furniture has not progressed to adapt to the change in demands. Computers have simply been placed on desks that had previously been used for written materials. As a result, the spatial relationships between the user and the computer components often puts the user in less-than-optimal postures.
Tip No. 1 – Laptop Use
Even worse is the current trend for many companies to have their employees work exclusively on laptop computers. Using a laptop makes it impossible to get into an optimal working position. Due to the height of the screen, the head is facing down, bringing the neck into a flexed position. This may potentially put excessive stress on the neck, because the keyboard and screen are in such close proximity and the screen will be either too close or the keyboard too far away. The issues associated with laptop use can be mitigated rather easily by hooking your laptop up to an external screen or using a laptop stand and external keyboard and mouse. These items are all relatively cheap and connect wirelessly making their integration into your office set-up a breeze.
Tip No. 2 – Monitor Height
The natural focus of our eyes, particularly at close proximity, is slightly downwards. This is why we generally recommend the screen height be at approximately eye level.
Let’s try a little experiment. Place your fingers at the top of your neck, right at the base of your skull. Now, without moving your head, look upwards. Do you feel something tighten up under your fingers? They are your sub-occipital muscles. If your monitor is too high you will be looking up either with your eyes or by tilting the head upwards. Both will create tension in these sub-occipital muscles and prolonged tension here may lead to tightening of these muscles, making it harder to keep your head in a neutral position. By the same token, if you are looking down at the monitor, the neck will be in a flexed position, potentially causing stress to the structures in the lower part of the neck.
Tip No. 3 – Monitor Distance and Position
The standard recommendation for monitor distance is one arm’s length away. If you are seated too far away from your monitor, you may consciously or subconsciously be leaning forwards slightly in order to see the screen. This can result in the head coming forward and increasing the stress on the joints and muscles of the neck.
Your monitor should also be located directly in front of you to avoid spending long periods of time rotating through the neck to look directly at the screen. It seems like common sense but I am shocked at how many people I see sitting at an angle to their monitor. Things become trickier when dealing with those who need to use two or more monitors at a time. For these people, we generally recommend sitting in front of the middle of the two monitors if using them both for equal amounts of time and if using one more than the other(s), face further towards the main monitor.
Tip No. 4 – Keyboard Setting
Let’s perform another quick experiment. Take one hand and grip the finger of the opposite hand (no we are not about to play a foul trick on ourselves). Keeping the wrist of the squeezing finger straight in all planes, squeeze the finger as hard as you can and note the strength. Next, bend the wrist up and squeeze then down and squeeze. Then move the hand in and squeeze, then out and squeeze. What you will notice is that the strength of the hand is significantly greater when the wrist is in a neutral position. It makes sense then if you are to be spending many hours typing, you want to do so in a position where the wrist is not having to work as hard. A position of wrist extension (bending the wrist back towards you) also puts pressure on the structures of the carpal tunnel, which may lead to a compressive neuropathy of the median nerve (one subset of “carpal tunnel syndrome” group of conditions). To achieve this, make sure the pegs on the bottom of the keyboard are set down. You may also need to use a pad or bolster underneath the wrists to keep them from being bent up. Those with wider shoulders may also wish to consider the use of a split keyboard to avoid the wrists being bent to the side whilst typing.
Tip No. 5 – Keyboard Position
The keyboard should be close enough that you can type with the elbows adjacent to the body. Try keeping your back in a neutral position and reaching out with the arms in front to type. It just doesn’t work. Inevitably the weight of the arms brings your body forwards and into more of a slumped posture. For those who typically use a notepad, try to use as small a notepad as possible to keep the keyboard close to you.
As with the monitor, you want the center of the keyboard (between the G and H keys) to line up with the center of your body to, again, avoid any twisting through the body.
Sam Gilbert has been practicing as a physiotherapist and ergonomic consultant in Tokyo for 10 years. He is the co-founder and co-owner of Club 360 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy and a master’s degree in Exercise Science.
Club 360’s experienced physiotherapists are available to conduct ergonomic consultations and ergonomic seminars in both English and Japanese. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.) Elana Jade: Spring skin Maekover
Follow these 6 simple steps and step into Spring with your best face forward!
- Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturizing Morning and Night: If your skin fitness regime has gone off track, it’s time to get back to it! Regular skin care is essential for healthy, beautiful skin.
- Hydration: As always, hydration is the key to youthful, vital skin. Getting into the habit now of consuming eight or more glasses of good quality water a day will help your skin look fabulous come warmer days.
- Exfoliation: Daily gentle exfoliation is essential to remove dull skin and rejuvenate new cell growth. This will bring out a healthy spring glow!
- Consume EFAs: EFAs (essential fatty acids) are really important when in comes to keeping your skin in good condition. EFAs, as found in flax seeds, hemp seeds or deep water fish like salmon, provide essential nutrients for your skin. These nutrients are important to hydrate and plump up the skin.
- Sunscreen: Although it might not be beach weather just yet, wearing sunscreen everyday is crucial to keeping your skin young and healthy. Some sun exposure is healthy, but too much will cause premature aging.
- Get a Facial Overhaul: A thorough facial is the quickest way to rebound from dull winter skin. Treat your skin to a deep cleanse & steam to remove impurities; exfoliation for skin rejuvenation; and a hydrating- mask to plump up skin cells.
SPECIAL DEAL: Peeling Facial Course — For March and April, Elana Jade is offering this unique course for only ¥42,000 for 4 treatments. Contact Elana Jade at email@example.com or 03-6438-9895 for more details.
Q&A with Jackie F. Steele and Megumi Ishimoto
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Celebrating Women as Change Agents in Post-Disaster Tohoku,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with Jackie F. Steele, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo, and Megumi Ishimoto, Executive Director of NPO Women’s Eye. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Join us […]Published on 14th March 2018
March Strategic Partner Member Offers and Other News
Check out the latest member offers and opportunities from our Strategic Partners here! Our Strategic Partners are committed to bringing the best services and products to FEW members. And go to our Strategic Partners page to learn more about all of FEW’s Strategic Partners, who not only support FEW’s activities but also provide professional and personal services […]Published on 1st March 2018
February Meeting Recap: Survivor – How to Overcome Adversity
You never know where life is going to take you. That was the message from our February guest speaker, Maxine Van-Cliffe Arakawa, who has had a decades-long career as a fashion stylist, make-up artist, and fashion show director in New York and Japan. She shared her personal experiences dealing with bi-polar disorder and gave her candid advice to […]Published on 1st March 2018
March Community Services Feature: Five Tokyo-Based Organizations That Fight For or Empower Women
In honor of March’s International Women’s Day, we’d like to present to our FEW community a list of five organizations that have established themselves as organizations who fight for or empower women as well as a list of five events that you can attend to show your support for this year’s theme of #PressFor Progress. […]Published on 28th February 2018
How I Got Here: Johanna Nousiainen
I first came to Japan as a study abroad exchange student. That year changed my life, even though at first I didn’t know it would. I was supposed to become a journalist in Finland, since that was what I loved to do – looking for information, interviewing people, writing articles about unique encounters you have. […]Published on 28th February 2018
FEW Spring Hanami Picnic & Party
Join FEW on Sunday, April 1, at Shinjuku Gyoen for a special family-friendly spring picnic celebration under the cherry blossom trees and enjoy connecting with friends, old and new!