Being home during this stay-at-home period is great. You are saving gas and time not commuting, you can catch up on extra sleep and even work in your pajamas. However, you are most likely busy working from home!! This can be challenging when you are creating a workspace and then must share the space with your spouse and/or children who are also at home working or in school. Here are some suggestions to maintaining a workable setup for this situation.
- Chair: Comfort is key when sitting during your workday. This is how we can stay seated for hours at a time. So, making this a priority when working from home is a must. Evaluate the chair height. It should allow your hips to rest comfortably at about a 90 to 120 degree position. This will create the foundation of your sitting posture, which will force your feet to rest comfortably and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If your feet are not touching, you can add a footrest so that your feet are not dangling unsupported. A padded seat will help support your lower back. If the chair is not padded, you can add more comfort by adding a cushion under your seat and/or pillow behind your back.
- Neck: When sitting, your ribs should stack over your hips with your head sitting atop your shoulders. You will want to see your screen with your head remaining on top of your shoulders so as not to strain your head or neck. Be sure to check your font size or resolution making sure it is not too small, so you are not forced to squint. If you are squinting to see your monitor this will result in a forward head position which causes a strain in your neck muscles.
- Shoulders/Elbows: Your arms should rest comfortably at your side or slightly in front of your body. Your elbows should be bent at a 90 to 100 degree position to allow you to comfortably use your mouse. Avoid over-reaching to use your mouse. Having your mouse or keyboard placed too high can place tension in your shoulders and neck.
It is very easy to get comfy on the couch, floor, or even from the comfort of your bed when you are using your laptop at home. This is okay but be mindful of your placement and positioning when working. If you are not careful it could lead to improper positioning of your body. Look for spaces like the dining room table or even standing at the kitchen island to maintain good body alignment. The suggestions mentioned above work well with a laptop setup, too. Here are some more suggestions when using your laptop at home.
- Elevate the Monitor. Try to use a riser if the screen is too low so you are not forced to slouch. An home remedy for a riser is a thick book, a box or can purchase a riser that is designed for laptop usage.
- Separate Keyboard. You may want to consider a separate keyboard, perhaps a wireless option, so you can have your laptop monitor at the correct height. This option will allow you to be able to work with your keyboard at a good position for your shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
Laptop on several books and using wireless keyboard
Another good point is taking breaks. Stretch breaks, screen breaks, any breaks are good to re-set your posture. It can be something as simple as standing or just looking out the window. Stay tuned for the next post as we will give you some stretch break suggestions.
Take Care and Stay Safe