Ergonomics Do’s and Don’ts
Nowadays, we have all begun to accept and adapt to the social distancing measures following the COVID-19 pandemic. Staying home quickly became an imperative for keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, and it brought many changes in our lifestyle. We all started working from home, and it seems that the new reality will last for a while.
While working from home has its benefits, it also comes with one major downfall – promoting poor posture and inactivity. Without the professional workspace set-up, many people around the globe find themselves suffering from back pain. Thus, maybe the time has come to review your working environment and update it for more comfort and less pain. With our ergonomics do’s and don’ts list, you can easily create a comfortable and healthy workspace and prevent developing major musculoskeletal disorders that go hand in hand with sedentary life and improper posture.
- Use a chair that provides height adjustability. You should be able to rest your feet on the floor and keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
- Your chair should also give enough lumbar support to your lower and mid-back and allow you to sit in a slightly reclined posture.
- If you can’t adjust your chair, use pillows or cushions for extra padding and necessary height.
- When sitting, push your hips as far as possible on the chair.
- Get up every half an hour and move around. You should stand for a couple of minutes to promote circulation.
- Choose a new chair without an adjustable seat height.
- Neglect the back support your chair offers. When you hunch over your desk, you promote bad posture. That can result in back pain and chronic musculoskeletal disorders.
- Hold elbows and knees outside of a 90-degree angle.
- Let your feet swing loosely. If necessary, put a few books or a box under the table, so you can rest your feet on them.
- Choose a well-defined light source to direct it toward your task. An adjustable desk lamp can help you put light when you need it.
- Put bright light to the side of your monitor to avoid glare.
- Create a comfortable environment for your eyes and make sure to prevent eye strain with soft lights. Ambient light can soften the harsh light coming from your computer, especially when working for long periods at night.
- Work under direct sunlight or glare of overhead lights. The goal is to illuminate the working area and eliminate shadows, but you shouldn’t work under too-bright light.
- Neglect natural light coming from your windows. Sunlight produces warm lighting that can improve your workspace without being harmful to the eye.
- Place your monitor at eye level to reduce stress on your neck.
- Place your laptop on the necessary height to look straight to it, if you don’t have a monitor.
- Put frequently used items within hand’s reach, so you can retain good posture when grabbing them.
- Use headsets to maintain proper posture.
- Place your monitor below or above the line of sight, or you will put a lot of stress on your neck and develop chronic pain over time.
- Put items you use a lot out of reach. That will drive you to twist and bend unnaturally.
- Don’t use your phone while working because you’ll have to bend your head to one side.
- Take regular breaks. While working at home, you may forget about the importance of breaks and stay inside for too long. Set a timer to remind yourself to walk or go outside for a couple of minutes. That will allow you to continue your work fresh and achieve even better results.
- It’s also important to look away from the screen every 20 minutes or so. Change your focus from objects at a short distance to the ones at a long distance. It will help your eyes rest and prevent eye stress.
- Use your breaks to stretch whenever you get a chance. You can also exercise before or after work. Regular stretching and exercising are crucial for sedentary people who want to keep their back healthy. Physical activity significantly improves office ergonomics.
- Work from your bed or couch – this is one of the primary office ergonomics tips. It’s bad for your posture and much less comfortable. Your couch or bed doesn’t have the necessary support for your back and drives you to twist and stay in unnatural positions for a long time.
- Work all the time. Take regular shifts just like you would at the office and spend your free time on other activities. Spending too much time on work can have negative physical and mental effects.
- Assume you have a good workspace at home. If you had great equipment at work, your body might not notice the difference at first. However, over time, in a poorly equipped workstation, you might experience discomfort and pain. Therefore, conduct working from home ergonomic assessment, checking the entire setup, from your chair to your computer.
Investing in New Equipment for Home Office Ergonomics
If you want to invest in your home office ergonomics, we would suggest getting a quality desk chair. Your good posture depends on a quality chair that will support your lower and mid-back. Luckily, many companies and brands out there have good options, so you can find the one that fits you without much effort.
To expand your working from home ergonomics checklist even further, consider getting a new keyboard and mouse. These accessories can help you relieve stress from your hands and wrists and make your workstation much more comfortable. Also, look into cushions for extra padding and a monitor for keeping your head in proper position during work hours.
Stay Safe and Healthy at Home
While social distancing, you keep yourself and other people around you safe from COVID-19. That makes working from home such a smart option for all employees around the world. Nevertheless, staying inside all the time is by no means easy. At the office, you are provided with all the necessary equipment to be comfortable during working hours. At home, on the other hand, you might be tempted to finish your projects from bed or work all day long.
As we mentioned in the beginning, a lot of bad can come from improper posture, including some chronic disorders. That’s why we recommend you to follow our workplace ergonomics do’s and don’ts. The list is easy to follow and doesn’t require too many modifications on your part. We included easy home solutions and adjustments you can make without even spending a dollar.
Now, we will finish our office ergonomics guidelines with one final tip – stay active. Don’t forget to move, stretch, and exercise. The sedentary life we lead these days due to the pandemic puts a lot of stress on our physical and mental health, and the best way to fight the virus is to stay active and stress-free as much as we can. If you have any additional questions on the topic, feel free to contact us.
published on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021