Safety Spotlight: Work From Home Ergonomics

September 29, 2020

As many employees continue to work from their home, part or full time, we spotlight the all-important topic of ergonomics.

As our home offices were hastily set up last spring, a thing like ergonomics may not have been our highest priority. There was a lot of uncertainty about the future (i.e. how long our work from home offices would be needed). Now, however, as many employees have found a new normal that includes the use of a home office, it’s time to make sure we’re not hurting ourselves.

So, where do we start?

  1. First, grab your chair. Sit down. Your feet should be supported, resting on the floor, with your knees at a nice 90 degree angle. Now, notice what kind of back support your chair has, if any. If you’re using an office chair with built in support, make sure the part of the chair meant to support your back is in the correct position, at the small of your back. If no back support is offered, a simple solution may be to place a rolled up towel at the small of your back.
  2. Second, position your keyboard. Scoot your chair up to your table or desk. When you place your hands on your keyboard, they should be resting comfortably with your elbows at 90 degree angles. Your wrists should not be pressed against the hard corners of your desk, or your arms reaching upward. If the keyboard is too high, you may need to raise the height of your chair (if using an adjustable office chair) and use a footstool to support your feet. Or, it may be necessary to find a different table or desk that is the correct height.
  3. Finally, adjust your screen. Make sure your screen is not positioned too low. Ideally, your eyes should line up approximately with the upper third of your screen. Laptop users may find it necessary to purchase a separate keyboard/mouse or screen to get both the keyboard and the screen at the correct height. A simple stack of books or a container can serve as a stand for your laptop or separate screen to raise it up to the optimum height.