With the pandemic resetting our working lives, more of us than ever are working from home. While we made to start with, thinking it might be temporary, we know that problems related to poor posture have crept in.
With some form of working from home looking permanent, this may be the time to address your home set-up, to make sure you protect yourself from musculoskeletal injury. Here are our top tips to work comfortably whilst aiding good posture at home.
If your employer has the resources, they may also provide equipment to facilitate the new way of working.
An adjustable chair with back support gives you the best chance of getting the optimal setup. Ideally, you want your knees just a bit lower than your hips and your feet on something solid like a box or the floor. Your lower back should be supported by the chair or a firm cushion.
The seat should allow you to comfortably reach the keyboard, with elbows by each side and forearms are level with the keyboard. Each forearm forms a right angle to the upper arm. It is possible to get a good set up with a non-adjustable chair, you just might have to be inventive in how you get the heights of things optimal for you. But you may wish to invest in an adjustable or ergonomic office chair to get it the perfect fit.
To help your posture and avoid neck strain, make sure your screen is at eye level. You may need to put something like books underneath the screen to raise it up to the right height if it’s not adjustable or you can’t adjust your chair to achieve this. Many of us are using laptops at home where we may have had a PC in the office - consider investing in a separate screen or keyboard so that you can set your screen to the ideal height.
To help keep your hands and wrists healthy and pain-free, your wrists should be supported and in a neutral position when typing (not bent or flexed). You can get foam pads to help, or even an ergonomic keyboard that allows the wrists and hands to bend towards each other slightly. If it is not ergonomic, you may start to experience different kinds of pain, including shoulder pain from using a mouse. It’s also important to take regular breaks – take time to move and stretch out your fingers and wrists to give your muscles a break from staying in a fixed position.
Absolutely! The benefits of a standing desk can be an improved posture and lower risk of back, neck and shoulder pain. There are other potential health benefits such as it helping to decrease your blood pressure (although only by a small amount). It is important to ease into using a standing desk to get your body used to the change gradually and the same set up recommendations apply (screen height, keyboard position with elbows forming a right angle).
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