Consider making these adjustments to create a comfortable, safe workspace.
With guidelines for social distancing still in flux, it is looking like we might need to settle in for the long haul of working at home. Even after we finally return to normal, there will no doubt be a higher percentage of people working from home permanently.
So, pull up to your kitchen table/desk. Here are some options for creating a safe, comfortable workspace.
When working on your computer, do you find yourself hunched, leaning forward, or evening just tilting your neck slightly forward and down to better view your screen? While these positions might not injure you right away, long-term habits can lead to injury or strain.
While seated at your desk and working from your laptop, the screen's position will force you to tilt your neck in order to look down. A monitor can be better, but you want to make sure it is positioned high enough and not too far away, which can cause you to jut your chin out past your shoulders. A monitor or laptop stand will raise your computer to eye level and promote a vertical, tilt-free posture for your neck. Raise the stand to a position where you can keep your neck directly above your shoulders and scoot it close enough so that you do not have to lean forward to view your screen comfortably.
For a DIY option, you can place a couple of books underneath your computer to create a make-shift stand. If you do use a laptop, you will find that your keyboard and trackpad are now too high. You will need to purchase a wireless keyboard and mouse combo in order for the laptop stand to make ergonomic and practical sense.
While typing, look down at the position of your forearms. If they lay flat on your desk and your wrists naturally reach for the keys without arching, then you do not need to change a thing. But it usually it isn't that easy and your wrists have to work hard, arching up to reach the keys. Since this wrist hinge can be common, consider a wrist support pad to place in front of your keyboard and/or your mouse. The pad will help your wrists rest in a comfortable, natural position while you work.
Now let's take a look at your chair. No matter if you are currently sitting in an ergonomic desk chair or a hardback kitchen chair, you will want to ensure you have the proper back support and posture. The expensive desk chair will only benefit you if it hits all of the following points. You can also keep your current kitchen chair as long as you make a few adjustments.
For one, make sure your lower back is snugly resting on the back of your chair. If not, roll a towel and place it in the crease of your chair for lumbar support. Next, you do not need to sit at a 90-degree angle. It is actually better for your back and body when you lean back slightly. Third, the chair should not hit the back of your knees as this can reduce blood flow. Do not cross your legs in any capacity, either. It can cause muscle strain and cut off blood flow as well. Lastly, if your feet do not rest on the ground in this position, consider a foot rest or even just a ream of paper. Having your feet firmly grounded will keep your hips and pelvis balanced.
Just like sitting for hours on end is not good for your body, standing can also cause pain or discomfort. There is a reason why most offices stick to chairs and seated desks. Standing for 8 hours a day puts a lot of strain on your body. If you are interested in increasing your stand goals, look into the sit-to-stand desks. Switch from sitting to standing every 20 minutes or so.
After about 8 minutes of standing, however, you will most likely feel prone to leaning forward or on one hip. Leaning can lead to back pain and place uneven pressure on your hips and knees. After the 8 minutes are up, return to your seated position. If you have to reorient your working conditions every time you move from sitting to standing, it will probably behoove you to stay seated while working and opt for short, frequent walk breaks instead.