While working from home, it’s easy to develop bad habits that can cause stress to your back, shoulders, and neck overtime. Fortunately, it’s also easy to correct those habits and sit ergonomically and comfortably for long periods of time. In a recent Wall Street Journal video, Jon Cinkay from the Hospital for Special Surgery says that sitting ergonomically can ward off long-term health problems that office workers commonly face.
For most people you’ll just need to make a few slight adjustments to your workspace, but chances are those small changes will have a long lasting impact on your health. If you sit and work in front of a computer all day, these small adjustments can make a big difference.
Your monitor (or laptop screen) should display everything directly at eye level. Most people hunch over their desk to see their laptop screen, or even look down on their monitors. This is the first step to helping your neck and shoulders relax.
According to the Just for Hearts Ergonomic Workplace Guide, the top of your display should be at about 2-3 inches above eye level, which ensures that the middle of the screen meets your gaze directly. You can buy a neat, organized monitor stand to boost its height, or even place it on a pile of books.
The downward viewing angle shouldn’t go below 60 degrees. Also, be sure to keep your monitor at about 'arm’s length. If you use 2 or more monitors, place the main monitor in front and the secondary monitor to the side. If you use them both equally, position them so that you are in the middle.
In addition to the physical placement of your monitor, make sure you’re not squinting to see the text on your screen. You can go into your settings and increase the pixel size if you need to make things easier to see.
Your keyboard and mouse are your most important tools. Investing in a wireless keyboard and mouse is a great way to reduce clutter and ensure you can position everything you need exactly in the right place. You can also easily stow them away when you’re not using them.
Lighting is also important. Make sure you have a flexible desk lamp that lets you control brightness and temperature settings. This way, you’ll have optimal, ample lighting for all times of the day, so you can not only see what’s on your screen, but the tools on your desk as well.
First, check in with your feet. They should rest naturally, flat on the floor. You may need to lift or lower your chair to achieve this natural 90 degree angle, which supports your thighs and takes pressure off your knees. Ideally, you should leave a small gap between your legs and the front of your seat.
With your shoulders relaxed, your arms should be supported by your arm rests so they are bent at a 90 degree angle. Your hands and wrists should be relaxed and straight. Ideally, you should “hover” your wrists and press down with your fingers as you type, or you can use a wrist rest for added comfort and support. If you have an adjustable-height standing desk, you may want to lift or lower it to the best position.
As you recline, your back gets additional support, so try adding a little tilt to your backrest. You should try to keep your elbows open at about 110 degrees.
Most importantly, keep moving!
This is the best advice for anyone who wants to feel healthier and more energetic throughout the day. You’ll feel fatigued, sore, and unmotivated if you sit in one position all day. Be sure to stand up and move around as often as possible.
You can even eat and be sure to stay hydrated while standing, and with an adjustable-height standing desk, you can even work standing up as well. The SmartDesk 2 is a great option for anyone who wants an affordable standing desk solution for their home office, with four memory settings to help you get to the exact right height every time, as well as a whisper-quiet dual motor electric engine that won’t disrupt your workflow or bother your housemates.
Ward off that sedentary lifestyle, alleviate back pain, and boost your focus and creativity with a SmartDesk 2, and sit comfortable and ergonomically in your chair to reduce the impact of prolonged periods of sitting.
Got any ergonomic tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!
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