In traditional office settings, ergonomics is big business. Offices accommodate staff with special chairs, molded mice and keyboards, and other equipment meant to keep them from developing repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel.
When working from home, though, a lot of workers don’t have access to this kind of specialty furniture and technology, and that’s starting to become a problem. As remote work conditions wear on, it’s time for workers to devise a safe, comfortable environment within the confines of their home.
Consider Your Tasks
To determine what kind of equipment you need to set up an ergonomic work environment at home, you’ll first want to consider what type of activities you do and how they affect your body. For example, if you spend a lot of time on the computer, but the surface it’s on is too low, you might experience head and neck pain.
Having your computer or keyboard at the wrong height can also cause your wrists to hinge when you type, causing hand pain. Pay attention to your body when you’re working – it will tell you everything you need to know about what is and isn’t working right.
Sit Up Straight
One of the best things you can do for your health, whether at home or in the office, is to make sure you’re sitting up straight with your feet on the ground, and in a chair that provides proper lumbar support. In other word, the rigid kitchen chair that you repurposed when your job suddenly went remote is surely putting unnecessary strain on your body – and you need a better chair, pronto.
Like other ergonomic solution, not everyone needs the same type of chair. While most people will benefit from a chair with arms, only some will benefit from having a headrest. Almost across the board, though, it’s best to opt for an adjustable height chair like these from BTOD, so that you can position it based on your height and the height of your desk.
Do you have a standing desk at work? Many companies installed them a few years ago as a way of improving employee health, and the ability to change positions can be beneficial. That being said, all-in-one standing desks can be prohibitively expensive.
A better alternative is to invest in a portable standing desk, which can be placed on top of your home work station. Along with the right chair, using a standing desk can help relieve back pain and encourage you to build some movement into your day.
The Right Kind Of Keyboard
How do you hold your arms when you type? If you’re like most people, your arms slant inward to sit on the narrow surface, and that’s not great for your posture or overall comfort. Even if you’re using a laptop, then, it’s worth considering getting a separate keyboard that allows you to maintain a more natural arm position.
Most ergonomic keyboards have either a flat profile or a surface that tilts downward so that the space bar is the highest point. This takes the strain off of your wrists and can protect against carpal tunnel. Plus, separating your screen and your keyboard when using a laptop may allow you to maintain a more comfortable head position and avoid “tech neck.”
It’s increasingly clear to everyone that working from home is our new normal, so it’s time to stop clinging to your uncomfortable desk setup. Doing so will just leave you in pain and feeling less productive than you would be otherwise and that’s unsustainable in this new work world.
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