By Alena Walrath, PTA
So you’re working from home now? Perhaps the better question is: where in your home are you working? If you don’t typically work from home and you haven’t given much thought to your workstation setup, you might find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
Here are some tips to help get you through your workday:
- The desk. Ok, maybe you don’t have a desk. A table works too, but you need a surface of some sort if you are writing or using a computer.
- The chair. Pick a chair that allows your elbows to bend 90° when you are sitting upright and resting your hands on the desk or table. The best chair height will depend on the work surface you are using. For this reason, an adjustable chair can be very helpful. If you raise the chair and your feet no longer touch the floor, find something around the house that you can put on the floor to rest your feet on (such as a ream of paper). Lumbar support is also recommended. If you don’t have a chair that meets this requirement, you can create lumbar support on a chair with a full back by rolling up a towel. Scoot back in your chair and place the towel behind your back just above your belt line.
- The computer screen. The top of the screen should be at eye level. This is easy if you have a desktop monitor, but for those of us using a laptop, there are a few adjustments that will significantly improve your posture. A laptop stand will do the trick if one is available. For the rest of us, simply prop up your laptop by placing some books (or another stable object) under it. If you’re wondering how you’re going to reach your keyboard now, keep reading.
- The mouse and keyboard. If you are using a laptop, you will also need an external keyboard and mouse. Make sure your wrists are in a neutral position and avoid leaning on your forearms or wrists. If you don’t have access to a mouse or external keyboard at this time, do what you can to minimize typing. Try using voice dictation software to convert voice to text.
- The noisy kids and dog in the background. Try a sound machine or some music
For more information on how to set up your workstation, here’s a short video from the Wall Street Journal. Don’t forget to take breaks.