2020 is teaching us a lot of things, including how much we can do from our homes. If working from your home office (or kitchen, bedroom, garage, etc.) is one of those things, here are a few tips to help you create a safe and healthy @home work environment.
Tip #1: Get Comfortable
The couch may seem like the most comfortable spot to work, but it doesn’t support the bodily evenly during extended periods of sitting. Instead, select a comfortable, adjustable desk chair for proper posture. A chair with height, seat, support, and armrest adjustments can help you get into a position that supports the curve of your back, lets your arms settle gently with shoulders relaxed, and allows your feet to rest flat on the floor.
If your chair needs minor tweaks to make it just right, consider using a small pillow. The pillow can help with back support, seat padding or height, or raise your elbow height to be level with your keyboard and mouse.
Tip #2: Don’t Forget the Accessories
The built-in trackpad and keyboard on laptops don't offer much adjustability (and sometimes they are just too small). Consider using an external keyboard and mouse, maybe ones with ergonomic features that reduce strain on your hands and wrists.
Just as important as what you're using is where it's placed. The positioning of the keyboard, mouse, and monitor can reduce strain (and poor posture). The mouse should be next to the keyboard, and both should be near the edge of the table. Your arms should bend 90 degrees at the elbow and rest gently with shoulders relaxed. The monitor should be directly in front of your body, roughly 18-20 inches away, depending on size (larger monitors should be further away). The top 2/3s of the monitor should fall within eye level.
Tip #3: Lighting
Your workspace should have general lighting without glare or shadows. Avoid facing windows or consider using shades or curtains to avoid excessive brightness. Task lighting, like a lamp, can help highlight desktop areas or documents.
Tip #4: Move Around
Sitting all day can be boring! Vary your work positions between sitting and standing throughout the day, if possible. For example, try standing during phone calls when you don't need immediate access to your computer. Movement and stretching refresh your muscles and can help provide focus for the next task. It's also good to give your eyes a break and view something besides a computer screen throughout the day. Set a goal to move at once every hour.