working from home

Ergonomics for working from home

 

We all are facing an unprecedented situation right now with the fight against Covid-19 where many of us being forced to work from home. This is not an ideal option for some of us as we struggle to maintain personal and professional space. On a positive note, working from home gives us the flexibility to structure our work schedule around the home routine of taking care of younger children but it does take away the ability to customise our work set-up according to our personal needs. Working in awkward postures for long hours in front of the computer is associated with neck, shoulder and pain. In the long run this may decrease your work productivity and lead to persistence of neck and shoulder pain. This may sound grim, but it can be prevented simply by being aware of how the Ergonomics in your home office should look like. Once you have this awareness then you can bring about changes in your home office and create a comfortable and enjoyable work environment. Here are some tips to set-up your home office.

 

  • Desk- Use a stable surface to keep your laptop computer, which means lying on a sofa or bed while working on the laptop is not recommended. It must be kept at least at an arm’s length from your body and have enough space for your computer monitor and keyboard. Your legs must be able to slide below the desk and the arms should be able to rest on the desk with hands below the elbow, and elbow bent at 90-degree angle.

 

  • Chair- The chair that you use should allow you to sit with your knees bent at 90-degree angle with feet resting on the floor. If the desk is higher than raise the height of your chair or keep some pillows on the chair to raise you to a higher level. If you are short, then add a footrest. It is preferable that the chair has a high back which encourages you to sit upright.

 

  • Computer/laptop monitor – The monitor height should be such that the first line that you read is at your eye level. For those using laptop with an external keyboard it is essential to keep the laptop on a stand or books so that it is at an appropriate height. If the monitor is set at a good level, then one should be looking straight ahead rather than looking down or up.

 

  • Standing desk- It gives you the flexibility to switch positions, so you are not spending long hours sitting and working.

 

A good ergonomic work set-up implies that your body experiences minimal or no discomfort when you are working. Research done in area of Ergonomics and musculoskeletal problems also points that the longer time spent per day or over a period in static postures is also related to neck and shoulder problems. We suggest that a strategy where you maintain work-life balance is more important now for your physical and mental well-being.  Some tips to achieve this are very simple  such as taking a break after 30 min of work, get up move around, make yourself a cuppa, do simple neck and shoulder stretches, go for walks or bike rides, organise your work diary to tackle important tasks in the day when you are likely to be most productive, try a hobby when you are feeling bored to work, and maintain a good sleep routine.

Here is a video link to get better understanding of Ergonomics of working from home.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLwIP8cBaWA

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