Do you know how many hours you sit in a day? Has this amount of time increased or decreased since working from home?
How has your work set up changed since working from home? Do you have a home office? Do you work from the couch or bed?
Enough with the questions. If you are like me and being stuck at home has turned you into an official couch potato, then we both need to make some changes. Our work space setup is not sustainable and not helping us be productive.
First thing first, remove your computer from your bed or couch. You need to find a table.
Place your computer on your desk, kitchen table, dining room table, kitchen counter, whatever table is available. This is your new desk.
Now you need a chair. Hopefully it’s a comfy chair as most of the sitting we do for work is unavoidable, however there are ways it can have less of an impact on our hips, neck and back.
When our space isn’t set up properly it can cause head poke, which increases back and neck issues, and eventually leads to upper crossed syndrome. This is not how we want to be sitting at our “desk”.
Instead, follow these steps to set up your chair:
- Feet should be flat on the floor and knees at a 90 degrees angle (you can elevate your feet using a book or stool if you need to).
- Your seat should be flat with your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Your back/hip angle should be between 90-110 degrees, so sitting upright or leaning slightly back.
- You want lumbar support. If your chair doesn’t provide this, use a small pillow or rolled up sweater behind your low back.
- If your chair has armrests you want them no higher than elbow height, so your shoulders are always relaxed.
- Organize your desk based on most frequently used items and repetitive movement. Keeping frequent movements close to the body to maintain a neutral spine.
- Set up any light (window, lamp) perpendicular to your screen to avoid glare, and make sure your screen brightness matches the brightness of the room. Your screen should not be a source of light.
- Top 2-3 inches of your screen should be at eye level (again you can elevate your computer with books, preferably a binder that can put your laptop on an angle).
- Keyboard angle should allow the wrists to be flat and relaxed, using a separate keyboard would be ideal. If this is not possible, make sure you are taking breaks to roll and stretch your wrists.
Screen Set Up:
- Screen should be centered in front of you. If you are using more than one monitor, make sure you are centered between the two, or in front of the one you are using more frequently.
- Minimize your exposure to blue light by adjusting the settings on your computer, downloading a software (CareUEyes, f.lux are two examples), or wearing blue blocker glasses.
- TAKE BREAKS, take a break every 20 minutes to just stand up and look away from your screen. It will actually help you refocus and stay productive.