Your At Home Ergonomics Checklist
Are you finding yourself working from home all of a sudden?
Get ready to tick off these important ergonomic points, for an efficient work station at home!
Noticing different aches and pains occurring since the sudden shift from your work desk to the at home dining room table, turned office space? An incorrect ergonomic set up can contribute to the following pain and discomfort:
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Stiffness through the spine and rib cage
- Tightness in muscles at the front of the hips, hamstrings, neck, chest and shoulders
- Discomfort trying to sleep
As always, prevention is the best treatment. So yes, that does mean the assumed- laptop on the couch or bed position dreams are over!
Osteopath Madeleine has created a ergonomic checklist to help ensure your set up and routine at home is one that will prevent discomfort and allow you to work as efficiently (if not more!) as you would at the office.
WORKING FROM HOME ERGONOMIC CHECKLIST
● Ideally the table height will allow you to sit with your elbows comfortably at 90 degrees and your wrists flat on the table.
● Make sure you can fit your knees under the table in order to sit close enough to your work station
● Location: We don’t all have the luxury of options, but consider setting up at a table that will limit distraction, provide natural light and airflow.
○ Standing stations are a good option to change things up. Think the kitchen bench or an outdoor setting.
○ Kneeling (if the knees can handle it). If finding the right height for a standing break isn’t going to work, kneeling at your desk will still provide relief from the sitting position.
● LAPTOPS: Elevating the screen needs to be a priority to avoid looking down for extended periods of time. If you can acquire a separate keyboard this will help you A LOT. Use shoe boxes, books, cereal boxes etc to elevate the laptop.
● Height- the top of the screen should be slightly below eye level.
● Distance- an arm’s length away is a good place to start.
○ Single screen: centered so that your body and head are aligned.
○ Two screens: ideally your dominant screen will be as square as possible with your keyboard and chair.
● Hip to knee angle- Aim for 90 degrees between knees and hips and feet flat on the floor. DO NOT HAVE KNEES ABOVE HIPS.
● Keeping this angle at 90 degrees or slightly higher takes slouching pressure off the lower back and decreases tension in the hip flexors.
● Lower back support- important for maintaining upright posture and preventing slouching through the spine.
● Your options and what to consider what adjusting:
○ Adjustable desk chair: seat angle, back angle, height.
○ The humble kitchen chair- use cushions or towels to add height, provide back support, improve the angle of the hips.
KEYBOARD & MOUSE
○ Flat on the desk.
○ Square with your monitor so that your hips, shoulders, and head are all aligned.
○ Wrist and hands shoulder rest on the table. The elbows should not rest on the table as this will have you leaning too far forward.
● Position: Inline with the keyboard so that you are not reaching forward or out. The aim is to keep the elbow and shoulder as neutral as possible.
● Type: “Ergonomic mice” are available. These are similar to a normal mouse, but offset to a 45 degree angle so that your palm is not fully flat to the table. They can decrease strain through the wrist, elbow and particularly the shoulder. Consider a change to one of these if you are prone to pain at the front of the shoulder.
(Our favourite tip!)
● Ideally, having a break every 30 minutes is recommended during work hours to aid your productivity
○ Allows your eyes to rest and readjust to objects further than a computer screen away
○ Stretching through muscles that will become tight in the sitting position- pecs, hip flexors, spine.
○ Encourages blood flow, which encourages oxygen transport to the brain (what a BONUS) and other tissues- prevents fatigue!
○ Looking at a beautiful view- the garden, the sky, your happy dog!
○ Finding a delicious snack!
Imagine the possibilities when you gain 3 extra hours of creative/rest/play time purely from being PRODUCTIVE!
So, IF IN DOUBT MOVE MOVE MOVE!