Almost every office worker is working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That means we have to make our home offices safe and healthy places to work. These tips can help you make adjustments to your workspace to stay productive and injury-free.
Try to imagine getting a new car. You try to adjust the seat to reach the pedals and see the road, as well as feel comfortable. Adjust the mirrors to have a clear line of sight behind you and to either side. Most cars are equipped with the headrest position and the seat belt height over your shoulder. These parts make driving safer and more comfortable. The same thing with working from home, you need to make similar adjustments.
Setting up the workspace needs to be safe and comfortable with a few ergonomic tips. It will reduce the chance of injury and prevent back problems, which helps to stay productive and focused.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to set it up. Any existing home furniture can be applied. But you also need to think about how your feet hit the floor, whether your wrists bend when you type or mouse, and other factors. You can make many of these adjustments without breaking your wallet.
Making Do With What You Have
Typically, home tables are a few inches lower than office desks. Whether the table is the right height is relative. This depends on how tall you are. Try using a rolled-up towel for lumbar support and a laptop riser, to make it ergonomically friendly.
There are four areas to focus on when setting up an ergonomic home office. Before starting, it's important to consider what kind of work you do and what kind of equipment is needed.
Before making any changes, consider how you spend the majority of your work time. Do you type for hours at a time? Are you a graphic designer who frequently uses a mouse or stylus? If there is a task that requires extended periods, customize your setup to be safe and comfortable for that task. For example, if you read the physical paper, you might need to put more illumination on your desk.
4 Areas of Focus for an Ergonomic Home Office
1. Head and Neck
To keep the neck, shoulders, and back free from injury, your head should be vertical to your neck. This creates the least amount of strain.
For short periods, it won’t be a problem. For a long-term setup, put the laptop on a laptop riser and use an external keyboard and mouse. For the monitor, use books to lift it to a comfortable eye level to keeps your head and neck in that neutral position.
2. Hand and Wrist Position
Your hands and wrists must be in a neutral posture. Extend your arm and hand forward to lay them flat on the table. Make sure any input devices in use, you can use them with your hands in a neutral posture for as long as possible. Keep your arms and wrists nice and straight. The arms mustn't bend out to the side or across the middle of the body.
3. Seated Posture and Back Support
Find a posture that lets you see the screen while sitting with lower back support. If no back support put a cushion, pillow, or towel behind the lower back. There are also orthopedic seats. These saddle-like products can fit any chair, tilt your pelvis into a more ergonomic position. Having a footrest helps too, especially short people, to achieve the right posture.
Take frequent but short breaks. Take a break every 20 minutes. Stand up and stretch out a little bit for a minute or two. Or even better, walk going the bathroom. Movement improves circulation, comfort, and performance. It also decreases the risk of injuries.
Six Essential Ergonomics Tips for Remote Workers
1. Keep Moving
Even with the perfect office setup, don’t sit in a chair all day. Stand up and do some exercise. Change your position, stretch, and adjust your chair when the need arises. Do some movement every 25-28 minutes. You can alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
2. Chin Up
Your head and neck posture need movement as well. Tucking your chin toward your chest can result in neck, shoulder, and back pain. You need to keep your body relaxed.
Here are some tips to make to your ergonomic home office for your neck, including:
● Adjust the position of your monitor
● Keep the center of the screen at eye level
● Use a headset to keep the monitor at eye level,
3. Rest Your Eyes
Take a break and gaze away from your screen every 20 seconds. Make sure the ergonomic office is well-lit and no glare from your monitor screen.
4. Perfect Your Posture
Without thinking about it, you might start to lean toward the screen. Improve your posture to avoid back problems. Sit back in your chair. The ideal angle from your leg to back is 90 –100 degrees.
5. Keep Arms Close
Avoiding sitting too far from the keyboard and mouse. Reaching too far can hurt muscles throughout your body. Keep your elbows close to your body core without straining.
6. Reposition Your Chair
Finally, get a chair that will keep you from leaning and straining.
Many people are spending too much time with their tablets and smartphones; however, these do not eliminate back problems.
Here are some things to remember when mobile computing.
• Texting and some other small-screen features can be a strain on the thumbs. Limit typing time to no more than 10–15-minute sessions.
• Stretch often when spending extended time on your device.
• When using a stylus, find one with a larger grip handle.
• Maintain a neutral posture while on your device. Use something to support the arms to prevent lofting them aloft for long periods and/or maintaining a prolonged bent neck.
Sometimes when working for long hours to find what’s missing in the ergonomic setup, your work environment should support you to stay comfortable and healthy. Whether in a traditional office or home office setup, you can make little adjustments to your workspace to make yourself more comfortable.
In regards to your positioning, if you still feel uncomfortable, there could be something else that needs correcting. There are times people need specialized equipment, such as alternate ergonomically designed chairs or desks, to alleviate other conditions. Thus, if things are still off with you after taking the suggestions, consult a doctor to find the problem. It could be your body is telling you something