Ergonomics Dos and Don’ts for Working from Home

It’s been two months since many of us have been required to stay home to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. While we are all getting ready to make some major changes to get to a “new normal,” many companies and schools across the US are planning to shift to a mostly virtual workplace. Since the stay-at-home orders were issued, we are seeing a surge in neck and back issues. We’ve outlined some simple quick tricks to help prevent these issues, but if you are experiencing more neck and back pain and not finding relief, we recommend that you come in to see one of our chiropractors for an evaluation.

  1. Sit up straight! 
    1. In previous blogs, we’ve talked about the importance of good posture. Yet again, this one makes our list. Stop hunching over your laptop or other devices! Typically, many of us are on our laptops for only a few hours each week. Putting in full-time hours on our laptop or tablet while on the couch can cause MAJOR neck, back and shoulder strain. Set yourself up for success! Check out our blog on Ways To Improve Your Posture While Working From Home for more tips.
  1. Practice the 20/20/20 rule.
    1. Spending hours and most days in front of your computer can cause A LOT of strain on your eyes. The 20/20/20 rule states that for every 20 minutes you are looking at a screen, you should look at an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reboot. The 20/20/20 rule can help prevent headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and red eyes. Set an alarm for every 20 minutes. Take a quick look out a window or even close them for the duration. Believe us, you’ll thank yourself later.
  1. Use a good chair.
    1. This goes without saying. You’ll be spending the majority of your time awake in this chair, so it’s important to have one that can support you and keep you as close to pain free as possible. While it may be worth investing in a nice chair, we know these times have also been tough on many financially. If you’re using a sturdy dining room or kitchen table chair, add pillows for some extra back support. If you’re also sitting at a table instead of a desk, they tend to sit a bit higher. Add a cushion beneath you to help raise your body up just a bit.
  1. Support your legs.
    1. If you find your feet are hanging off the chair or dangling a bit, place a stool or stack of books underneath to give them support. This will eliminate any unnecessary strain on your legs and lower back.
  1. Don’t use the couch or your bed as your office!!!
    1. We can’t stress this one enough. We know how appealing it is to stay cozied up in your pajamas and work from the nice comfy couch (or bed). But it’s SO rough on your body! Your body needs support and the couch or bed is just not going to cut it! We’re not saying you can’t stay in your sweats all day, because let’s face it…we’d do that too! Keep the sweats and move to a desk or table. Save the couch or your bed for your relaxation time and sleep!
  1. Use an external keyboard and mouse.
    1. This is worth investing in. While being able to pop your laptop all over the house or outside on the deck is very convenient, it’s a bit rough on your hands, wrists and shoulders. Consider investing in an external keyboard and mouse. Use a keyboard that is flat or has a negative tilt (bottom portion is raised) and keep it at elbow height. Your mouse should sit on your dominant side, slightly in front of the keyboard. This allows your wrists and fingers to move more freely and will help prevent any unwanted tension.
  1. Stand up to stretch every hour.
    1. Too much sitting does a number on your body. Get up and stretch every hour. When you set your alarm to look away from your screen, consider getting up and just walking around for a few minutes. This will help give your body a nice physical break and quick refresh.

Working from home certainly has its perks. While many of us didn’t anticipate this big change, it’s one we can adapt to. Try to incorporate these few tips into your remote working set up. These 7 ergonomics dos and don’ts will sure help minimize the physical stress on your body and set you up for success in the future.

Scheduling regular appointments with one of our chiropractors at Advanced Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy is a great way to stay aligned both mentally and physically! Call us today to schedule an appointment or fill out this form here.

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