Working from home may be temporary, but it is nevertheless important to ensure your workstation is properly set up. Remember to always support your body in a neutral posture and avoid awkward postures that cause you to reach and twist. Micro-breaks and stretching are also good habits which can help promote a good work-from-home experience.
Eyes to source
- Adjust the height of the monitor so the top of the display is at/slightly below eye-level.
- Place the monitor at arm’s reach.
- Hands to input device
- Position the keyboard so the upper arms hang comfortably, and the forearms are horizontal. Elbows should rest about waist-level. Elbows should be bent about 90 degrees.
Body to chair
- Adjust the seat pan height to the height of the lower leg. The seat pan depth should be adjusted to allow 1”-2” between the seat pan and back of the lower leg.
- The seat back should be adjusted to support the entire back.
Feet to floor
- Feet should rest flat on the floor or be supported by a footrest. An old phone book or ream of paper can also be used.
- Do not sit on your legs or perch your feet on the casters.
- Vision Breaks: Change the viewing distance from very short to very long to relieve the eye muscles from holding a fixed focus. Follow the 20/20/20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, look approximately 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Task Breaks: Change activities to provide relief. For instance, to break from typing, make phone calls, file documents, etc. Generally, take a five-minute task break for each hour of typing.
- Stretch Breaks: Briefly stretch to provide relief from prolonged postures. Perform only those stretching exercises which are recommended by a reliable source (physical therapist, physician), and never stretch to the point of pain or discomfort.
- Work Practices: Minimize awkward postures (twisting, reaching), and use equipment best suited for specific tasks.
Recommended equipment for working remotely
The following items will help you maintain a neutral, supported posture from your home office.
- External keyboard
- External mouse
- External monitor or laptop riser—If a laptop riser or external monitor are unavailable, a laptop can be raised by placing books or reams of paper beneath the device. External input devices should be used so the upper extremities remain in a neutral posture when keyboarding and navigating with the mouse.
Best practices that can be used remotely
- Set up a designated workspace. Keep frequently used items nearby to reduce reaching.
- Take a periodic micro-break – this will help avoid static posture and repetitive motions. Use tools, such as a timer on a smart watch or computer as reminders to take a break. Alternating tasks can also be used as a time to take a micro-break.