In today’s busy technological society, more jobs are being performed at a computer and more people now have the option to work from a home office. While this is great for reducing traffic on the road, the safety and setup of your computer workstation is essential in order to prevent disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and low back pain. You can try these tips to protect your body, improve the ergonomics of your home office, and prevent a work-related injury.
Find your posture. To find your ideal neutral sitting position, sit all the way back in your chair and rest your feet flat on the floor. You may need to adjust the height of your chair. Your knees and hips should be at the same height. There should be 2-3 fingers width of space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees. Relax your shoulders and rest your hands on your armrests or on your lap. This position should feel comfortable without any pain. A well fitted, comfortable office chair with adjustability and lumbar support is worth the investment.
Set up your desk. Your desk should allow for a few inches clearance above your thighs. A desk with a keyboard tray is ideal, however if you do not have a tray you can adjust the height of your chair so your elbows are bent comfortably at 90 degrees when your hands rest on the keyboard. If adjusting your chair height brings your feet off the ground you can utilize a footrest.
Position your monitor. An easy way to measure appropriate monitor distance is to stretch out one arm. Your middle finger should barely touch the screen. Also check your monitor height. Your neck should be neutral and your eyes should be looking at the top quarter of the screen. If your screen has a glare you can tilt it down slightly or utilize a glare screen.
Get up and move. Remember to take breaks from sitting at your desk. No matter how ergonomic your setup is, sitting for hours is not ideal. Take time to stretch, move around, get a drink of water, or alternate to a standing position throughout the day. Use a timer or reminders on your phone or tablet to cue yourself to take frequent breaks.