With this sudden wave of work-from-home there is a big challenge lucking just below the surface. That is POSTURE. If you have been working in an office environment there is most likely an ergonomics department to check your workspace or at the very least the desks and chairs you use were purchased with ergonomics in mind.
Then, boom, you are working from home in what is possibly a made up, on the fly office… or no office at all! What to do? Well, there are some simple steps to keep in mind and some ideas for those without the luxury of a complete home office set-up.
- Get off the couch. It so tempting to work from the couch I know but seriously please don’t give in to the temptation. Its setting you up for so many low back, neck and shoulder issues.
- If you don’t have a fancy desk chair at least make sure to be sitting on a pillow and/or have a pillow behind your back to eliminate that slouch. And don’t forget the lumbar area.. roll up a towel to support your low back if you don’t have lumbar support in your chair.
- Check your office accessories:
Keep keyboards directly in front of you
Make sure the top of your monitor is at or below eye level
Blink and rest your eyes periodically when working for long periods in front of a monitor
Keep your mouse close to your keyboard and use keyboard shortcuts to avoid overuse
Use wrist supports to help minimize stress and maintain straight wrist posture during typing and mousing
- Focus on your posture:
Keep your hands, wrists, and forearms straight and parallel to the floor
Make sure your head is facing forward and aligned with your torso
Keep your elbows bent close to the body between 90 and 120 degrees
Place your feet fully on the floor (or on a footrest)
Use an adjustable-height chair with lumbar support when sitting and make sure your thighs and hips are also supported
Keep your knees at the same height as your hips with your feet slightly forward
- Make your own standing desk. Even if you’re sitting you must elevate your computer. The middle of your screen should be in line with your eyes and never below. 6-12 inches above your desk is ideal. You can work your way up to a standing desk eventually but do it slowly. Use books or boxes if need be.
- Stay put but give yourself breaks. Move around, stretch and don’t stay in one spot too long. Whatever you do though, resist the temptation to go lie on the bed and work or the couch. Its all over after that!