When you decide to start working remotely and taking on a remote job, you have to know that ergonomics are extremely important and that being a professional means that you have to take this very seriously. You have to be your own best health coach. We have collected the best tips and created this ergonomics checklist to optimize your workstation.
Prior to the widespread pandemic, an increasing number of people had already been saying goodbye to feeling stressed – doing an exhausting daily commute to work. It comes as individual workers and businesses saw remote working’s potential. Companies have seen there has been an increase of productivity of as much as 77%. Individuals, on the other hand, noticed that working remotely could be good for stress and heart health.
Sadly, the reality is that many people work at the kitchen table, or in their bedroom which makes that they are forced to work under suboptimal work environments such as desks that are too low or too high, uncomfortable chairs, working on laptops without a monitor on the right height or even without a mouse, or not having their mouse optimized for long working hours.
Table of Contents
What Is Ergonomics?
Before we go any further, we need to backtrack a bit and discuss ergonomics. Chances are that you’ve heard about ergonomics before. Many would associate it with chairs, handles, and other products, and they’re not wrong. Ergonomics has something to do with all of those, but then it is so much more. Let’s dive deeper.
To put it simply, ergonomics is the process of designing and building objects and spaces to fit the person better who will be using these. Ergonomics studies the capabilities and limitations of the human body. It then applies what has been learned through those studies to improve how humans interact with products and spaces.
Why Is Ergonomics Important?
Many of those who work suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). This causes pain in muscles and tendons because of repetitive movement and constant use. Another common condition is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which causes pain and numbness in the arms or hands. This condition is so common that it is estimated to affect 3 to 6 percent of the adult population. Yet, these injuries and conditions can be avoided or at least minimized with ergonomics being applied in the workplace.
Work from Home Ergonomics
But what about people who work from home? How can they benefit from ergonomics?
Working from Home Ergonomics Checklist
If you are working from home, then here are a few simple ergonomic tips that you can use.
1. Chair and Seating
The way people are seated and how they use chairs is the most important way that ergonomics can be utilized by those working from home. People spend hours sitting and working, which can cause many problems when not given the right amount of attention to optimizing it.
The good news is that there are simple ergonomic tips that you can use, so you don’t suffer the consequences of sitting down for too long. For example, make sure the backrest of the chair has adequate lumbar support. The backrest should be curved to fit around the pelvis and back of the rib cage. It is an effective way to reduce pressure on the spine,causing back pain.
One way to know that you are using the right chair is that the back of your knees has clearance when you are seated and resting against the backrest. You can find articles online which can exactly tell you what kind of chair you need that will fit your size, weight and posture. You can imagine that a heavy or tall person needs a higher, bigger chair than a person who is petite. It’s worth looking into those, since it’s an ergonomics essential.
A headrest is always a good idea and making sure you have supportive armrests on the right height also is.
2. The Right Posture
You also need to maintain proper body posture when you are seated. When seated, your hips and your knees should form a 90-degree angle. Keep your feet planted on the floor. Make sure that you change your posture frequently so that you don’t get tired of one way of being seated.
3. Your Monitor
A vast majority of the people working from home use computers, which also means staring at computer monitors for extended periods of time. That can have an effect on your eyes.
The best position for the monitor is to place it in front of your eyes at arm’s length. Make sure that the top of the screen is just below eye level.
4. Keyboard and Mouse
The way that you use the mouse of your computer and the other input devices can also have an effect on your health. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that can be developed because of the way that you use the mouse of your computer.
Make sure that you adjust the height of the keyboard, the chair, or the table that you are using so that your rams, wrist, and hands will be in a straight line when you’re typing.
5. Your Work Area
Your work area should not be cramped and must have some free space to allow you to move and walk around when you want to. In addition, you need to have enough space to move your legs and knees under the table when you are seated.
Avoid having too much glare or shadows on your work area. To achieve that, you need to adjust the blinds or the shades on the windows, or you can simply adjust the overhead lighting if you don’t have windows in your work area.
6. Use Accessories
You should use accessories that can make things easier for you. For example, if you are in meetings on a regular basis, then use a headset. If you are constantly using documents as references during meetings, then use a dedicated holder for that.
These are just a few ergonomic tips that you can use when working from home. Try them and create the ideal working space. Don’t compromise.