Working from home has become the new normal for many since the beginning of 2020, but even after a year most have not mastered ergonomic ways to work from home. Working ergonomically simply means creating an efficient and comfortable work environment that enables you to complete your duties.
While some bad habits may have developed along the way, there are several ways you can create a more efficient and comfortable work-from-home environment:
Create a Dedicated Workspace:
Find a space in your home to be your dedicated workspace. Although the couch or bed may be the most tempting place to work, it is not the best idea for your health. A dedicated workspace should include:
- Desk/Table: A desk or table that is at the right height is important. If you have a desk that is too low or high, it can become uncomfortable over time. A good height is one that allows your elbows and wrists to be in a neutral position.
- Chair: Find a suitable chair to use. It should have good back support and some cushion to help minimize any pain from developing over time. If you need extra cushion, use a pillow, and for added lumbar support, you can roll a towel or blanket to place behind your lower back.
- Computer monitor/laptop: Adjust the height so that the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be at least 20 inches from your eyes to avoid strain.
- Mouse: Keep the mouse close to the keyboard to avoid stretching.
- Work phone (if applicable)
Get Up and Move:
The goal is to not be stationary or sedentary the entire time you are working. Try to get up to move at least once every half hour. It is always a good habit to step away and give yourself a chance to get your blood moving. If you need a reminder, set a timer or download a break timer app.
Stay Hydrated/ Eat Lunch:
With work being at home, it can be easy to continuously work and snack frequently. Make it a priority to stay hydrated and to ensure you eat lunch each day. This will give you a chance to step away from the work screen and allows you to move around and eat a balanced meal.
Whether you decide to stand or sit while working from home, it is important to maintain a good posture. Try to restrain from slouching, hunching, or leaning over while at your desk. Focus on keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle and keeping your wrists straight to avoid any pain and discomfort over time.
A good rule of thumb to incorporate is the 20/20/20 rule, for every 20 minutes of looking at a screen, give yourself 20 seconds to look away at something 20 feet away. This prevents the length of time you spend looking at a computer screen which helps avoid eye strain and gives your eyes a chance to relax.
In the end, ensuring that you are practicing good habits and following the ergonomic tips above will help keep your health and safety as a priority. Also, it will allow you to stay productive and engaged throughout the day.