Tracy Stroud | HR Generalist
With millions of people working from home now, and some suddenly having to get creative with their home office set up, make sure you are still working in a healthy environment. Here are some tips to improve your new workspace.
Tips for Home-Office Ergonomic Health
1. Avoid "bad" postures: While there's no perfect posture for longer periods of time, some postures are worse for almost everyone because they put a lot of stress in vulnerable areas. Lying down with your head propped up puts a lot of pressure on your neck. Slouching puts strain on your lower back and will be more problematic for people who get back pain. Instead, try to keep your spine in a natural neutral position (preserving the hollow arch in the low back).
2. Desk set-up basics: Adjust the height of the monitor to maintain a level gaze and de-stress the neck. You can use things like books to raise the height of a laptop or desktop. Rest the heels of the palms on a desk and type. Increase text size or wear computer glasses to reduce the need to poke the head forward to read the screen.
3. Adjust your chair, then adjust it again: The notion that an ergonomic chair is a cure-all is a myth. The best ergonomic chair isn't the one that can achieve the "best" position; it's one that facilitates posture change. If you have a chair that allows you to adjust the height and angle of the seat and backrest, use those features to vary your position frequently.
4. Schedule variety into your workday: Plan activities that vary your posture and movements at intervals throughout the day. If you do primarily desk work, try to break it up with tasks that get you out of your chair. Stand for calls if you can. Take frequent breaks. A good rule of thumb is to stand up every 20 minutes and stretch.
5. Do the standing stretch: If you sit a lot, stand up from your chair. Start by raising your arms overhead and hold for ten seconds. Then reach higher and farther back for another ten-count. Inhale deeply, working into an upright and stress-free standing posture. Drop your arms and relax. This stretch dispels cumulative stress on the spinal discs. Do it throughout the day. For more tips on computer and desk stretches, here is a useful link: https://ehs.ucsc.edu/programs/ergo/stretch.html
6. Breaks should be the opposite of work: Your breaks should be the opposite of the dominant physical demand of your work. If you usually stand when working, have a seat for your break. If you usually sit, a rest break is walking. If you sit while working, don't also sit during your lunch break.
We hope these tips, which we’ve collected from a variety of experts, can help improve your work week and keep you healthy!
Have more questions about improving your home workspace? Click here