When you're working from home, and you have a home office set up to accomplish your daily tasks, it's important that you keep good ergonomics in mind so that you can prevent injuries, and maximize your productivity. All it takes is some poor posture at your home office desk, and you might very well begin to start feeling strains in your back or neck, as well as premature fatigue in the workday. Here are some tips on setting up your home office appropriately, so you can avoid negatively impacting your posture and your overall health.
You should position the top of your computer or laptop at eye level, since this will avoid the possibility of slouching forward, and having your neck and shoulders hunched over. This posture causes considerable strain on the neck and shoulder muscles, all of which can result in tension, pain, or headaches.
Keyboard and mouse
When sitting at your desk, the ideal position is to have your forearms resting comfortably on the desk, running parallel to the floor. Position the keyboard and the mouse about five inches away from the desk edge, so that your forearms can remain supported.
It's really important that you break up your work and not sit at your desk for a long period of time. If you can install a standing desk, that will avoid the possibility of sitting for extended periods. Even if you can't afford a standing desk or can't locate one in nearby stores, you should be able to prop your screen up with books, so that it will allow you to stand and still keep the screen at eye level. Here is how you should try and arrange your standing desk/computer set up:
forearms – just as if you were seated, your forearms should be parallel to the floor, and resting at a 90° angle.
posture – you should strive for tall posture, keeping the middle or top of the screen at eye level, while your shoulders are totally relaxed.
knees – there should be a slight bend in your knees, so that you don't inhibit blood circulation between the heart and the legs.
feet – if you find that your feet get sore while you're standing, try using an anti-fatigue mat or a mat which is cushioned. These will provide additional support for your feet while you're working, and should help to prevent fatigue building up in your legs.
Sitting correctly while working from home will help to avoid posture problems, and prevent the onset of premature fatigue. For this, it's best if you have an ergonomic desk chair with adjustable height and solid back support. If you can't afford a new office desk, insert a lumbar pillow to support your lower back. This will help to prevent slouching, which in turn encourages muscle strains in the lower back.
Whenever you're sitting at your desk, the ideal position is to have your feet planted firmly on the floor in front of you. This will create a stable position that encourages optimal posture. If for some reason your feet do not touch the floor, it's advisable to use a block or stool to rest your feet on, so that you'll be able to maintain the optimal position.
About The Author
Dr. Kilby J. Rech is a Rapid City Chiropractor and owner of Thrive Family Chiropractic In South Dakota. The Chiropractic clinic specializes in back and neck pain treatment, spine biomechanics, Child and Family Chiropractic, and personal injury and wellness.