To all of you that are working in different locations, at different levels and under different circumstances, here are a few ideas to help you remain comfortable completing your computer-based work. It is a step-by- step guide to set up your work area. I look forward to seeing you as our routines normalize. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me with questions regarding staying healthy and staying productive.
1. With your hands resting on the keyboard or work surface, adjust the work surface or your chair so that your elbows are bent at approximately 90 degrees and rest at the side of your trunk.
TIP: If you find that you tend to raise elbows away from your side as you use the mouse or keyboard – lower your keyboard or raise the seat height. Achieve this by raising your chair (using a cushion or pillow to raise it) or raising the height of the work surface by placing an object under the keyboard and/ or the mouse such as a box or catalog.
2. Once you have the right height of the chair and work surface, place your monitor approximately 18-21 inches from your nose. The top of your screen should be approximately at the level of your eyebrows.
TIP: If you are working on a lap top, having an external key board can help with these adjustments. You may find tilting the laptop slightly will raise the screen enough to be more comfortable.
3. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees to avoid low back stress.
TIP: Sitting on a bath towel or blanket that is folded so that it forms a wedge to sit on is helpful.
4. Your feet should rest comfortably on a surface.
TIP: You may require a stool or catalog under your feet that can be moved easily to adjust your position.
5. Avoid placing your work area in front of a window. The contrasting light makes it hard to focus on the screen, producing greater eye strain.
TIP: Light source should be from overhead or to the side.
TIP: Focus away from the computer screen frequently through the day, looking out the window.
6. Standing at the counter or bar height surface provides a good break from static sitting.
Tip: Follow the same guidelines as above to make this a comfortable work area.
TIP: Standing all day long can be fatiguing. Throughout the day, a mix of sitting, standing and moving is optimal for keep you comfortable.
7. Take frequent microbreaks to stretch out of your current posture and take a deep breath.
TIP: Your body would like you to change posture / position every 20 minutes.
8. To maintain your productivity, it is always helpful to find a quiet space or use head phones to block distractions.
9. Maintaining a near normal schedule will boost productivity and mental health for you and those around you.
TIP: Set a schedule for yourself and others in the home and stick to it.
10. Take a walk. Take a hike. Get outside for a break. Oh, and make sure to stay hydrated!
11. What is the name of this body of water and in what South American country will you find it?
Lorena Pettet Payne
Physical Therapist, Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist, Occupational Health