The outcomes of poor ergonomics – sitting with bad posture, having only a limited range of movements, having to bend or reach repeatedly – may seem fairly innocuous, but over the long term it’s possible they can lead to a range of issues that may have long-lasting effects, including damage to muscles, nerves, blood vessels, ligaments and tendons.
Many factors that feed into good ergonomics are taken for granted in an office but can be lacking in a remote workspace. For example, while at the office, you likely have access to a suitable desk and chair, but at home you might not have an optimal setup.
To transform a section of your home into a suitable workspace, consider the set up of the following:
Ensure you are sitting in a chair that supports the curvature of your spine and allows you to comfortably sit up straight.
It is important that you adjust the height of your chair so that you are able to keep your feet flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to it.
Also, make sure your chair height allows your forearms to rest comfortably on your work surface with your elbows roughly at right angles.
Your work surface should be sturdy and have sufficient space underneath for your legs and feet to rest comfortably.
You may also wish to cushion your wrists from the edge of your work surface with the use of a wrist rest or some padding.
Keep your keyboard and mouse on the same surface and position your arms so that your hands are roughly in line with your elbows, keeping your upper arms tight to your torso and your wrists straight.
When using the phone, it is a good idea to put it on speakerphone or use a headset to remove the need to hold the phone between your head and your shoulder, which will strain your neck.
The top of your monitor should be at around eye level, the screen roughly an arm’s length from you, and it should be positioned directly in front of you.
All of your often-used materials should be arranged in such a way that they are easily at your fingertips – as you may need them several times throughout the day, it is important you do not have to repeatedly bend or strain to reach them.
As well as following the guidelines for creating an ergonomic workspace, it is also advisable to take regular breaks throughout the day and to use this time to stretch, hydrate and, if possible, take in some fresh air. If you are finding it difficult to carve out this time, perhaps try setting timers to remind you to get up for a short time at regular intervals.
While the home is a far from perfect work environment, making use of the tips outlined here will improve it significantly and could prevent unnecessary injuries.
For more tips on staying productive while locked down, as well as keeping boredom at bay during downtime, visit our social media pages: