Ergonomics is the science of adjusting job conditions, equipment, and tasks to match the body’s natural ways of functioning. The goal of ergonomics is to prevent illness and injury as well as insure comfort and productivity in the workspace.
Now more than ever with millions of Americans working from home, many with less than ideal ergonomic conditions, it’s important to maintain sound ergonomic practices and to identify risk factors before injuries may occur.
Here are ergonomic tips and best practices to help you stay safe and comfortable working at home
Use an office chair if possible
If possible, use an office chair with backrest and armrest. Adjustable features on an office chair will also help you avoid lumbar and neck discomfort.
Transform your current chair if you don’t have an office chair
If an office chair isn’t available at home add pillows or a soft towel to your current chair for back and leg support. This will make sitting more comfortable. Your hips and thighs should form a 90-degree angle when sitting in the chair and knees should bend at a right angle.
Make sure your feet rest flat on the floor
Your feet should rest flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor when sitting. If your feet don’t firmly touch the ground while sitting add a book, a box or a step stool to reduce stress on your lumbar spine.
Work at an appropriate height
The top of the computer monitor should be just below eye level, so you don’t have to strain your neck to read. If it’s too low raise it by placing a book or another solid object underneath. Also avoid sitting too far from the keyboard or the mouse. Wrists should be straight and in a neutral position and elbows should naturally fall flush with your table/desk height.
Stay aware of your posture
Don’t slouch. Make sure your hips are positioned as far back as they can go in your chair with your head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Your elbows should remain close to your body. Scoot your chair in so you aren’t too far away from your keyboard and mouse.
Keep moving around frequently
Try to avoid sitting or staying in the same position for too long. Stand up, stretch, and change positions at least every hour.
Avoid using your couch as a workspace
Although your couch may seem like the most comfortable place to spend the day working this is not optimal. With your legs or full body in a vertical position for a long period of time numbness and discomfort can occur.
Practice the 20/20/20 rule to combat eye strain
Rest your eyes, blink regularly and close your eyes periodically. Every 20 minutes take a 20 second break from looking at your monitor and during the break look at something that’s 20 feet away from you to vary your focus.