Ergonomics and working from home

Many of us have found ourselves working remotely due to COVID-19 Containment regulations. It is highly unlikely that we have the same workstation setup at home as we have in our typical offices. A computer workstation is either on the couch, bed, or kitchen table! As comfortable as these options may sound, using an improper workstation set up for an extended duration can cause awkward posture which can increase the risk for ergonomic related injuries (or musculoskeletal disorders such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome). It is important to set up your workstation as best you can to prevent injury regardless of where you might work. Here are simple changes you can make to your workstation using items that you already have in your home.

1.  Use a good chair

Always use a good chair if possible. If you don’t have a good chair, add pillows for back/leg support.

2.  Raise your chair

Most kitchen tables and desks are too high. Use a pillow as a seat cushion if needed.

3.  Support your feet

Support your feet on a phone book, step stool, etc. So that they don’t firmly touch the ground while sitting.

4. Raise your monitor

Raise your monitor using books, old shoe boxes, or anything else handy enough.

5. Use an external keyboard & mouse

It is more ideal for the monitor to be separated from the keyboard/mouse. The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level, shoulders relaxed with the elbows around 90 degrees.

6. Your workspace

Create a separate working space, to avoid disturbances from noise in the house.

7.  Have a work schedule

Design your work-from-home hours the same way you do office hours. Choose a start time, lunch break and finish time that you stick to as closely as possible so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

8. Avoid sitting for long periods

Every so often, it’s good to get up and stretch your body between periods of sitting. Stand up and pace around or take a break occasionally to stroll around the house, do a few stretches or lift some light hand weights. If you need to, set a timer to help you remember.

9.  Eat healthy meals and snacks

Avoid the temptation to eat whatever unhealthy foods you have in your kitchen, instead eat healthy snacks, and keep a water bottle handy to sip from throughout the day.

10.  Give your eyes a rest

Sitting in front of a laptop can strain the eyes, therefore it is advisable to close your eyes for a few minutes or look at something else to make sure you’re not straining them.

11. Change out of your pyjamas

Shower before you start working and put on something other than pyjamas to get out of the lazy mindset. Workout clothes are a good option.

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