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Ergonomic Do’s and Don’ts When Working From Home

It’s been a couple weeks now since people from all over the world have been working from home. It was fun the first few days, considering all we had to do was wake up and begin our daily tasks. But if you haven’t been taking ergonomics into account ever since you started working from home, and chose to type on your laptop while lying on your bed all day, you’re probably already experiencing a hint of back, neck, shoulder, or wrist pain.

Working in the wrong posture for long periods of time can take a toll on our overall health and wellness. In fact, they can cause serious injuries in the long run. That’s why, even at home, we have to find the optimal working position. Here are the ergonomic do’s and don’ts to take into account.


DO’s

1. Find a table and chair with the right height.

As much as possible, you should be working in an upright position where you shoulders fall naturally with the height of your desk. Otherwise, you’re putting critical parts of your shoulders and wrists under too much pressure, especially if you’re working for long hours. Finding the right height of table and chair, enough so that you can relax your shoulders and wrists, will reduce the risk of injuries such as carpal tunnel stress.

2. Find a comfortable chair.

Working from home means having the liberty to choose where you want to work, but as much as possible, you still want to maintain an office setup. Working on the floor, the couch, or bed, might be tempting, but these will put unnecessary stress on your body, increasing the risk of strains.

Ideally, you should still be sitting on a comfortable chair while working. Find one that has a backrest that keeps your back straight, and with the right height that allows your feet to touch the ground. Your dining table might be the best option, if you don’t have a home office.

3. Follow the 20-20-20 rule.

You might think that ergonomics is all about body position and posture. But really, eye strains are also risks that can be addressed with an ergonomic setup. In a healthy work environment, there’s such a thing known as the 20-20-20 rule. This dictates that for every 20 minutes looking at your computer screen, you should be giving your eyes a break by looking at something else that’s 20 feet away for a period of 20 seconds. Doing this will give your eyes they’re much-needed break from your computer or laptop screen, reducing the risk of eye strain and keeping you productive enough to sustain hours of work.

4. Work on the same spot every day.

Think of your home as your new office. Just like in the workplace setting, you have a dedicated space for yourself where you accomplish your daily tasks. Have the same dynamic at home by finding the most ergonomic spot and sticking to it. Having a designated work area will enable you to keep your momentum and adapt to the work-from-home environment.

4. Take regular breaks.

As much as possible, avoid sitting continuously for long hours. For every 60 minutes of work, take a short 5 minute break and spend it walking around or stretching. This will help relax your body and keep you alert.


DON’Ts

1. Don’t lean forward or tilt your neck down while working.

When working on your laptop or computer, there’s a tendency for you to lean forward or tilt your neck down to see your screen clearly. But keeping this position for too long will result to neck and back strain, which can cause serious injuries in the long run.

Ideally, your screen should be raised at eye level so that you can maintain a good body posture. Use a laptop stand or riser to elevate your screen to the optimal position. If you don’t have one, you can always get crafty and make use of books or boxes.

2. Don’t let your feet dangle while sitting.

When in a sitting position, your feet should always be touching the ground. Letting your legs dangle on a chair that’s too high for you will cause stress on your thighs and lumbar spine. Always make sure your feet have support. If you don’t have a chair that’s the right height to keep your feet grounded, make use of books, boxes, or anything you can use as support. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor and your hips slightly higher than your knees.

3. Don’t work on your couch or bed.

It’s very tempting to work on a soft surface like your couch or bed, but we know how unproductive that’s going to be. Not only that, but keeping your body at a vertical position for too long will cause numbness and discomfort. Stray away from the temptation and work on your dining table instead. This will prevent you from straining your body, while boosting your productivity as well.

4. Don’t eat snacks while working.

Working from home gives you a taste of freedom. Eating on your desk might not be allowed in the office, but it sure is allowed at home. But there’s a reason your office forbids it. Aside from preventing pesky insects, eating snacks while working can cause you to neglect having regular meals. Skip the junk food and crackers and make sure to eat healthy, home-cooked meals at the right time of day.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.

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