Adapting Ergonomics to Your Remote Location
In the past few weeks, we have faced new challenges and changes in our workspace environment. Many of us find ourselves working from home for the first time. Part of adapting to this new normality of working remotely is taking a minute to evaluate the new space and make sure that it has a good ergonomic configuration. This will help to prevent injuries and boost your productivity throughout the day.
Fact: Many employees working from alternate locations are using their laptops as a primary device.
The truth: Laptops are not designed to be ergonomically suitable. They are compact and the screen is attached to the keyboard causing poor head/neck and hand/wrist posture.
The challenge: Setting up the laptop monitor and keyboard at the proper height.
Solution: Evaluate your workstation, make small adjustments, and improve your posture.
Benefits: Reduce musculoskeletal diseases, pain and discomfort during the day.
No matter whether you work remotely or at the office, there are three important ergonomic rules everyone should follow: First, maintain a neutral posture; second, use a chair that supports your back; third, position your computer monitor at eye level.
- Improve your posture-even if you feel comfortable on your sofa that does not mean the body is comfortable or well supported. In your remote location, dedicate a workspace to help organize and create discipline in your day.
- Maintain a neutral posture-neck should align with the spine (not bent or forward), back relaxed but supported, shoulders relaxed (not hunched or rounder), elbows close to the body and bent at an angle between 90 and 120 degrees, then lastly the wrist and hands straight (not bent or turned).
- Find a desk-there is no problem with using your dining table as your desk as long as you can position your computer screen in front of you so you don’t strain your neck.
- Pick a chair-the chair may be the most important part of your remote office, depending on how much time you spend sitting. Sit all the way back in your chair, make sure your back is straight and supported.
- Position your laptop correctly-if you are going to use your laptop for extended periods I recommend to use a laptop stand or place your laptop on a stable support surface, such as reams of papers, boxes, or books to achieve proper screen height (browser bar at your eye level). Also, you should consider adding an external keyboard and mouse. This will help prevent poor posture with either the arms or hands held too high or the neck and back bent low.
- Move around– even if you have a perfect workstation, you shouldn’t sit all day. Instead, you should mix up your posture; Take mini-breaks (go for a short walk) during the day, add stretch exercises every hour. You can easily switch positions by sitting at the dining table and standing at your kitchen counter. This may help to keep you comfortable during the day.
Start today by taking care of yourself and creating a healthy environment. Just remember we are all in this together.
If you feel you are experiencing discomfort due to the setup of your workstation, visit http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/ergonomics/office-ergonomics/ for help to adjust your workstation. Or you can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or consultation.