Top ergonomic tips for working from home more safely
Ergonomics is arranging and designing things so that they can be used efficiently and safely. With many people now working from home in improvised offices, it is important to be aware of how to set up your work station in the most ergonomic way you can.
Why do you need an ergonomically sound work station?
As appealing as working from the couch seems, after a few days you might start experiencing back pain or other injuries. You may not be as efficient as you would like to be, either because you are uncomfortable in pain or because your equipment is not set up in a way that allows you to work quickly.
Sit with good posture
Your posture is one of the most important factors to consider when setting up an ergonomic workspace. You should sit so that your spine is neutral, or in its natural S shape. Do not slouch or sit perfectly straight.
Make sure your desk is at the right height
Use an actual desk if you can, but if you do not have one then a table or other furniture can work. Your elbows should be at desk height to help you align your wrists correctly and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.
Adjust your chair
If possible, use an adjustable office chair with lower back support. If you do not have one, sitting on a cushion or towel might help you have better posture by raising your hips and curving your spine.
Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, your hips slightly higher than your knees, and your feet should touch the floor and not dangle. If your chair is too high, find something to rest your feet on.
Setting up your computer, keyboard and mouse
Make sure your computer, mouse and keyboard are positioned properly.
- Your monitor should be an arm’s length away from you so that you can see the whole screen at once.
- You should be looking slightly downwards when looking at the middle of your monitor and should be able to see the top third of your screen easily and with your neck straight.
- Your eye line should be level with the top of your computer screen.
- Try to have a separate monitor, mouse, and keyboard so they can be positioned appropriately.
- If you are using a laptop, use it either as a keyboard or as a monitor.
- You can use an external keyboard and raise your laptop on a pile of books or laptop stand so the top is at eye level.
- You can also use an external monitor and place it with the top at eye level and use your laptop for a keyboard.
- Your keyboard and mouse should be easily reachable so you can sit with good posture and avoid movements that feel awkward.
- Your wrists should not bend backward on your mouse or keyboard and your wrist should not bend to the side when using your mouse.
Avoid eye strain
Give your eye muscles a rest by looking away from your screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. Look 20 feet away. This is called the 20/20/20 rule.
Make a meal for lunch instead of snacking all day and remember to stay hydrated. Taking breaks will help you avoid straining your eyes and will give you a chance to stretch and do some walking. Alternate tasks often so you can stand up and move around and take mini-breaks when you start to get tired.
Make an effort to do some walking during the day even when you are working from home. A short walk can help you clear you focus and is good for your health.
Have your own work station
Having your own space lets you set everything up so that it’s perfect for you and you will not have to adjust it every time you work.