By now you may have been working from home for several weeks (let’s hope we get on top of this COVID-19 soon). And as a result, you may be feeling that, although your workstation was doing alright to begin with, it’s giving you aches and pains now.
So, what can you do to help yourself? Here are my Top 15 Tips:
Get the Right Chair
- You should be supported by the chair – Use a chair with enough stability to hold your weight. Not one that’s been hiding in the garage for years because you got fed up of falling off when you leant back. Or wobbles when you sit on it.
- Your chair height should be the tall enough to have your feet on the floor. If your feet dangle (then you’re probably a shortie like me) find a box or pile up some books/catalogues/pillows to put your feet on.
- Get the length of the seat right – you want to be sitting right back in the seat with the back of your knees comfortably on the edge of the seat. (The seat pad wants to be roughly as long as the back of your thigh).
- Even better would be to have the seat slope forward slightly. This helps your pelvis and low back to remain ‘straighter’. And, in the end, more comfortable.
- If you’re got a fit ball (aka exercise ball or gym ball) lying around unused, you can sit on that. They’re great for your core because you have to support yourself. If you’re not used to it though, start with just one hour per day for the first week. 2 hours per day on the second week. 3 on the third etc.
At home you’re probably limited on where you can work. Often, it’s the dining room table. Which is typically too high to work at. If you must and you’re sitting on a dining chair, then you might find it easier to sit on a cushion or two. (But don’t forget your feet! Check # 2).
- Ideally, you’d be working on a desk. Just like at work. When you’re got your chair sorted out, then your desk should be at a comfortable height with your forearms parallel to the floor and your wrists resting naturally on the work surface.
Make Sure You’re Aligned
- Your body likes to be symmetrical. It’s not, but it likes to be and will thank you if you can treat it that way. So, keep everything balanced and equal. Treat both sides the same.
- Keep everything within easy reach.
- Don’t twist If you’re using swivel chair and need to move around to the side – Twist the Swivel, not you!
- If you’re referring to documents, try a document holder. It should mean that you don’t need to move your head/eyes so much to see what you need to. Allowing you to keep that wonderful set-up you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
- Your Computer screen should be straight in front of you. Ideally at a height where, when you’re sitting up nice and straight and where you’re looking at between ⅓ and ¼ of the way down the screen.
- If you wear bifocal lenses, then you may find lowering your screen and angling it up more comfortable. Sitting up straight and look down with your eyes through the reading lens to look at a screen angled up at you. It’s YOUR position that makes the difference, in my experience. So have a play.
If you need more than one screen, set them up so they’re both easy to look at. Ideally at the same height and right next to one another. Although, if you’re looking at one and just using the other for reference, keep the main one directly in front of you and the other one somewhere easy to glance at.
- When you’re working on a Laptop the same rules apply. The easiest way to make it work is to get a laptop stand (I’ve called this a docking station for quite some time, but searches for it came up with something else) to raise it up to the right height and use an extra plug-in keyboard, to keep your arms in the right place.