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10 Tips for good ergonomic home set-up

Published: April 30, 2020

As the nation takes the required preventative measure to help flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19 many of us are working from home with little or no time to set up a workplace. Sitting in an awkward posture for a prolonged period of time creates a build-up of cumulative load on your body. This cumulative load leads to grumpy joints, tight muscles and pain. 

These 10 tips can help make the setup affordable, keep you productive and stay injury free.
Find the best location: 
  • If you have a spare room, set it up as your workspace - quiet, productive and away from others in the household that may cause distractions. This will avoid from having to pack it up each time the family needs to eat.
  • Don't's: Do not resort to working on the floor, on the couch or worse - in bed.
  • It is a good idea to talk to your employer to reimburse you for some of the expenses if you don’t have a desk, office chair, computer
Comfort is the first Priority:
  • Try to avoid working from a dining room chair. If possible bring home your work chair to use it at your home office. 
  • Invest in an ergonomic chair with an option to adjust for height, depth and tilt and can swivel.
Position the monitor and keyboard correctly:
  • Place monitor  directly in front of you with the top of the screen at your eye level and distance about arm’s length away.
  • Make sure shoulders are comfortably relaxed, with your head not tilting down.
  • Use a wireless mouse and keyboard with the keyboard placed close enough so you don’t overreach & it allows you to maintain a neutral wrist position with enough space for the wrists to rest on the desk.
  • If working from a laptop prop it up on a stand or with some books so that it is positioned at the correct height.
Chair setup:
  • Position the height of the chair so that your elbows rest just above the desk height and should be parallel to the floor. There should be about a 90-120 degree bend in the elbows
  • Adjust your seat height so feet is flat on the ground with your knees lower than your hip
  • If your chair does not have lumbar support use a lumbar roll or small cushion. It will help to improve spinal alignment.
Stand up:
  • If you have an adjustable desk or an adjustable workstation it is great to be able to transition between sitting and standing.
  • Even if you do a DIY by lifting up your monitor and keyboard this will make a welcome change to sitting all day.
  • Ensure there is enough lighting to enable read documents and books.
  • If you are communicating via teleconference, make sure your face is well lit so you can be seen clearly from your webcam.
  • Regular breaks when working in front of monitor to move is very essential. Try to get out of your chair every 30 minutes to stand, walk, stretch or do some quick easy exercises.
  • Doing some daily tasks is a great way to break up the sustained postures.
  • Make sure to continue having your morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea breaks
  • Taking longer breaks throughout the day is important to give body a rest from the sustained working positions. 
Reduce the repetitive movements:
  • Many musculoskeletal injuries are caused by overuse or repetitive movements, even in good biomechanical positions. Repeating the same motion over and over can lead to stress, breakdown of tissue and injury. The best way to avoid this is to change the tasks regularly.
  • Doing something different, even if it is for a short time can take the pressure off joints and muscles.
Avoid sustained postures:
  • Remember it is the sustained postures that are the biggest issue. You can still run into problems if you spend too much time in the one position, this is why it is crucial to move regularly.
  • You can have the world’s best ergonomic setup at home and still slump, putting strain on your muscles and joints. So get up and move while you are working at your workspace when you can.
  • Move in your seat, change the position of your feet, squeeze your butt, twist in the chair, roll your shoulders and look around the room regularly.
Watch that phone:
  • Do you spend a lot of time on the phone? Think about getting a headset to reduce pressure on your neck and twisting movements to reach for your phone. Also be mindful of where your phone is positioned on your desk.
  • Don't's: Never, ever cradle your phone in your ear with your shoulder.
Be smart with paperwork: 
  • Use a document holder close to the screen and keep all documents within your line of vision to minimize excessive head movements and neck strain.

And here’s another tip-
Use the time that you would normally be travelling to and from work to do some exercise.Go for a long walk, jog or go for a bike ride. Staying physically fit is vital. 

Please call our practice on 5367 4130 fro your ergonomic assessment today!