The United States continues to relax COVID-19 regulations, but some businesses still have employees working from home. With laptop or desktop at the ready from a makeshift office space, people put in their long work hours. Some get distracted by screaming children, while others relish in quiet isolation. One common denominator is that many people who work from home do not have the best ergonomic setup.
What Are Ergonomics?
Ergonomics affect every single person on the planet. You don’t have to be an ergonomics expert to understand a few basic principles. The most important thing to grasp is that ergonomics is a scientific discipline that is concerned about human interactions with a specific system. The most common one, for example, is how a human interacts with a workspace. The goal is to optimize overall well-being and body performance, specifically referring to anatomical, biochemical, and physiological functions.
Workplace ergonomics are designed to build a healthier workspace. Many people continue to work from home, but they don’t have the same setup that work offices provide. Not everyone has an allocated office space with an ergonomic chair that encourages correct spinal positioning. Some office chairs provide lumbar support to reduce lower back pain and the risk of sciatica. Working from home has reduced ergonomics in the workspace, but there’s no need for the body to suffer.
You can easily improve ergonomics in your home workspace. There’s no need to suffer through forearm or wrist pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, lower back pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Many positions, especially those that can operate from home, involve static positions and poor posture. This article aims to help you correct these mistakes for optimal ergonomics at home. You’ll find five helpful tips below.
Create A Dedicated Workspace
Claim a workspace in your home and make sure that you can set up your computer on a desk or table. Working on a couch or bed for long periods of time can cause severe neck and lower back pain. Put a chair in front of your work station and create some lower lumbar support with a cushion or pillow. If you have to take calls on the phone, use headphones or speaker phone so as to not kink your neck to the side.
Pay Attention To Your Arms
Admire how beautiful they are. That’s not really what this tip is about, but appreciate your arms every now and again. According to health experts, it’s best to keep your arms by your sides with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. If your chair has armrests, adjust them so that your shoulders feel relaxed when you rest your elbows on them. If your armrests cannot adjust and they are uncomfortable, flip them up or remove them.
Follow The 20/20/20 Rule
For the sake of your eyes, it’s best to not stare at your screen for all hours of the day. To help maintain healthy vision, avert your eyes from the screen after 20 minutes of work. The 20/20/20 rule is very simple: after 20 minutes of computer work, look at something for 20 seconds that is 20 feet away. Don’t look at another screen that’s 20 feet away, though. Doing this every 20 minutes helps to relax eye muscles to reduce overall eye strain.
Get Up And Stretch
If you’re working from home, it means you have the luxury to get up and stretch in your own space. There won’t be strange looks from coworkers! For optimal spinal health, it’s best to get in the habit of standing up and stretching every 30 minutes or so. You can shake it out or engage in a five-minute stretch session. The main muscle groups to focus on include the shoulders, wrists, hips, back, neck, chest, and legs. Not only does stretching help you avoid tension, but it also encourages healthy circulation. Click here for great desk stretches.
Support Your Lower Back
One of the most common symptoms of a sitting at a desk all day is lower back pain. Some people find that standing desks are beneficial, but not everyone wants to invest in a standing desk. Not everyone is comfortable standing, either. Additionally, people may not have the space for one at home. If you want to support your lower back in your desk chair, make sure that you press your buttock firmly against the back of the chair. Many people sit at the edge of the chair and end up slouching. Roll up a towel or place a cushion behind your lower back. This creates a natural arch that prevents you from slouching forward and straining your neck, back, and shoulders.