If you have started working from home like so many millions of people around the world secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic, you have probably had to set up a desk in your home. Having an ergonomically sound station to base yourself on is super important. Here are some tips.
If you are a part of a large company, you may be eligible to have a workstation assessment completed. These can be tricky to do through video conference, but not impossible and as restrictions lift. Hiring a qualified professional come into your home may be possible and required if you are having ongoing aches or pains related to your workstation.
Considerations when working from home.
If you have more than one screen, they should be set-up, so you have appropriate access to both. Using one screen 90% of the time, and the other 10% would require different positioning compared to two screens you use evenly and flick between. Also, push the screen back to the depth of an outstretched arm.
For those using a laptop, connecting a separate keyboard and mouse is ideal, have the screen at a height that you are not looking down, and your arms relaxed on the desk, having a desk that is long enough is crucial.
Concerning a chair set up, your feet should be flat on the floor. Have a gap of 2-3 fingers between the back of your knee and chair seat with adequate back support that you are upright.
There is a range of available accessories, pending your work situation as to what would be appropriate. Headsets, wrist supports, footstools, split keyboards, and joysticks are some examples.
Ultimately, if you are uncomfortable, adjustments should be made.
Unique work types.
Not all workers are required to sit at their desks all day. I find myself constantly adjusting the positioning of my screens throughout the day as I take telehealth calls, requiring exercise demonstrations, and taking group classes via zoom. For anyone in a similar situation, I would suggest re-configuring your station each morning, or before a period of just computer work.
For everyone else, ticking off a list at the start of each week to ensure a good set up is a great idea.
- Feet are flat on the ground or a footstool
- Have comfortable room under the desk for my legs
- Organize screens as per their usage percentage
- Review the distance and height of your screen/s
- Accessories are within a comfortable distance (keyboard, mouse, phone, notepad)
- Shoulders are relaxed and forearm parallel with the ground
If you are noticing discomfort in your body. Take note of your set up, if you are unsure of how to arrange the best for you. There are plenty of professionals able to give qualified advice, exercise physiologists, osteopaths, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists. If you are unsure, you can make contact and ask if this is a service they provide.
Ensure you are moving throughout the day. Working from home, we are typically moving less with less active transport (walking to work/public transport station). Adhering to 5 days of 30 minutes of structured physical activity each week is crucial to ensure you are using your body for what it is made for – movement. This exercise can be in any form.
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