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WFH desk set-up

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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With the pandemic resetting our work lives, more of us than ever are working from home (WFH). While we made do 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 while aiding good posture at home.

If your employer has the resources, they may also provide equipment to facilitate the new way of working.

Have you got the right chair?

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 a chair or a firm cushion.

The seat should allow you to comfortably reach the keyboard, with elbows by each side and forearms level with the keyboard. Each forearm forms a right angle to the upper arm. It is possible to get a good setup with a non-adjustable chair, you just might have to be inventive in how you get the height of things optimal for you. But you may wish to invest in an adjustable or ergonomic office chair to get the perfect fit.

Get your screen height right

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.

Avoid hand and wrist strain while typing

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 toward 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.

Would we recommend a standing desk?

Absolutely! The benefits of a standing desk can be an improved posture and a 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 setup recommendations apply (screen height, keyboard position with elbows forming a right angle).

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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