Ergonomics of working from home

By Nardine Bekhit

With our new reality, you have likely adapted to working from home. Not everyone has the luxury of a home office, so you may have had to create a new workspace for yourself. Having a functional space is important not only for your productivity, but also for ensuring that you can work without creating or exacerbating issues with your muscles or joints. Here are three basic tips to help you optimize your workspace ergonomics.

Computer Setup
If you are using a laptop for more than an hour a day, consider purchasing an external keyboard and mouse. This will allow you to position your screen slightly higher (you can use a few textbooks for this) so that the top of your monitor is at eye level.

If you use a regular desktop computer, make sure that the monitor and keyboard are centred in front of you. Your mouse and keyboard should be close to each other and within close reach. Ensure that there is no glare on your screen.

Choose a chair that adapts well to your body and allows you to change the angle and height of the seat, armrests and back support. The armrests should help you relax your shoulders and keep your elbows close to your body. A footrest is often helpful as having your feet slightly elevated improves your low back posture. Avoid crossing your legs, slouching or leaning to one side.

Work Surface
If you are working at a kitchen table, remember that a standard table is higher than a standard desk. Adjust the height of your chair accordingly and use a footrest if your feet aren’t comfortably resting on the floor.

Using a document/book holder helps prevent your neck from craning forward. Try to keep it in line with your computer screen. Make sure your work surface and keyboard tray are stable (no bounce).

Remember one of the most important principles in workspace ergonomics – change positions often! Taking short breaks every 20 minutes will help your body and your ability to focus.

If you are unsure of your workspace setup or are experiencing pain due to working from home, our clinic is offering complimentary virtual ergonomic assessments during this time. Please visit our website or contact us to find out how you can access this service. We are all in this together!

Nardine Bekhit is a doctor of chiropractic at CURAVITA Health Group – Glebe Location, formerly known as Glebe Chiropractic Clinic + Massage Therapy Centre. 613-237-9000;; @curavitahealth on Instagram; @curavitaglebe on Facebook and Twitter.

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