Making the Most of Your Home Workstation: A Guide to Ergonomics Best Practices

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When most employees were sent home to work remotely in March, little consideration was given to the workspace that would support this new way of work. The main concern at the time was around the technology needs to complete the work. But a workspace is about more than a laptop and a camera for those virtual meetings.

It’s about the ergonomics of your space—the process of fitting the tasks and tools to the person. And this has to be a priority for the health and well-being of your employees.

Whether you have a designated space to use for work or are relocating throughout the house depending on where everyone else is, understanding the ergonomics of a workspace will ensure you are comfortable and able to work anywhere. But let’s face it: Ergonomics probably isn’t top of mind for most employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No matter what type of work your employees are doing, there is a risk of injury if proper form and placement are not considered. Your employees likely know that the card tables they are using aren’t the ideal desk. But they might not have a better alternative. So, it’s about making the most of what you have to ensure maximum comfort and productivity.

Proactively communicating about the importance of a healthy and functional workspace will show your employees that you care. It will also help them avoid future injuries and create awareness around the warning signs that something isn’t right.

Whether standing, sitting, or somewhere in between, the tips below will help set your employees up for success in today’s work-from-home world.

Desk Ergonomics Best Practices

At home, an adjustable chair is not always available, and instead, many employees find themselves making due. No matter what kind of chair you’re using—a folding chair, straight-backed dining chair, bar stool, or fit ball—focus on these important elements: seat height, seat depth, back support, and armrests, if the chair has them.

Ensure the seat height positions the hips level with, or slightly higher than, the knees. There should be some clearance between the backs of the knees and the front edge of the seat. At a minimum, the backrest should provide fairly upright torso and comfortable lumbar support. Feet should be fully supported on the floor or footrest. If you’re sitting on a bar stool with your feet on a rung, be sure to change positions more frequently to limit localized soft tissue compression on the soles of the feet.

Now, it’s time to talk about the shoulders. It’s important that your shoulders be relaxed, with your upper arms hanging loosely at your sides. If you’re using chair armrests for support, keep your shoulders and upper arms relaxed. Some chairs have fixed, or nonadjustable, armrests. If they do not support you in a balanced posture, consider removing them if possible.

It’s also important to consider the placement of the keyboard and mouse. They should be positioned slightly below elbow level and shoulder distance apart. When setting up your technology devices, placement should support approximately a 90-degree angle in your elbows and allow you to work without bending your wrists.

If you find that your desk or table is too high relative to your seated posture, it’s time to improvise. Place pillows on the chair seat to raise your body higher, but don’t forget about your feet. You may need a makeshift footrest to maintain hip and knee alignment.

Whether using one or multiple monitors, placement matters. A single monitor should be as far away as visually comfortable and tilted back no more than 20 degrees. Further tilting increases the possibility of glare from any overhead lights. Both the monitor and the middle of the keyboard home row should align with the center of the body; your wrists should not be bent. Continue reading here…

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Source: HR Daily Advisor

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