With the current chaos of making life changes, from maintaining safety precautions to avoiding the spread of the Coronavirus, there are certain things you may not be aware of that could affect your health. One such component is the shift from working in an office setting to becoming remote. If done correctly, working from home can be ultimately beneficial!
The Ergonomics of Office Jobs
In an ideal office work setting, ergonomic set up is addressed a bit more frequently. You may have had someone come and ergonomically measure your desk or have a fancy ergonomic chair. The height of a desk, desk chair, armrests, standing desk options, and monitor and keyboard positions can all make or break chronic postural issues that lead to lower back, neck, wrist hip, knee, shoulder pain, and headaches.
Safe At-Home Work Setups
The great thing about working from home is there is more variability, props, and ability to move that you may not have had in an office setting. The following are recommendations to avoid musculoskeletal aches and pains with the change of those prolonged postures you may get stuck in when delving deep into your work.
Proper Laptop Positioning
Laptops can be quite convenient in that they are lightweight and movable. However, they can place strain on your body in a different way. If you’re using a laptop for work, two options are setting it on a table/countertop or your lap.
When laptops are placed on a surface, try to position the screen high enough so that your line of vision meets the top of the monitor. If you are standing at a countertop or sitting at a kitchen table, you may need to stack up some books or a box under the laptop to achieve this height.
The other option is to sit on a couch with the laptop in your lap. Raising the height of your screen is still recommended in this case. To do so, place a pillow or two on your lap to add more height. A raised laptop brings with it a potential tendency to elevate your shoulders up towards your ear. Try to break this habit by using armrests or pillows supporting your elbows so your upper trap muscles don’t have to work so hard.
You can also take advantage of at-home privacy by lying on the floor, stomach-down while working on your laptop. If you find this position uncomfortable for your lower back, try placing a pillow under your belly button. You may switch up the position, too, by laying flat on your couch with your head supported by pillows.
Working With a Desktop Computer
The same guidelines stated above for working from your laptop apply to using a desktop computer (and should be carried over to an office setting as well!) The ideal screen height will have the top of your screen lined up with your eyesight as you sit in an upright posture. Ideally, your screen will be directly in front of you rather than off to the left or right.
Additional Tip: Make an Effort to Be Active
Use a kitchen timer to set an alarm for every 20 minutes to move away from your computer, especially if you’re frequently sitting. Walk around your place during phone calls. Our bodies love movement, not prolonged stagnant positions.
Taking these preventative measures before deeply establishing your new work-from-home habits will help you avoid new aches and pains. Continue to stay safe and sane out there, and feel free to reach out to SetPT if you have any questions!