You may have been working from home for the past year. And although you might miss certain offerings of the office, working from home certainly has its perks.
But it doesn’t come with a free ergonomic chair. For many, the home office is set up at the kitchen table, counter, or sofa. None of that is good for your posture or joints.
Typing all hunched over at the counter strains your lower back, neck, and shoulders. Being curled up on the couch does the same. Over time, this can lead to poor posture and plenty of pain.
At the office, you likely had an ergonomic workstation. You may not have fully appreciated the chair and desk setup – complete with armrests and optimized angles to save your joints – but you may be missing it after a year away.
If you can’t get an ergonomic workstation in your home, it’s a good idea to find ways to improvise. Here are some suggestions that can help lower the risk of pain and promote good posture.
- If you don’t have an ergonomic chair, use a pillow, towel, or cushion to offer lumbar support while working at your desk, table, or counter.
- Do not work on your sofa.
- If possible, use a chair with support, cushioning, and armrests.
- Sit all the way back in your chair with feet flat in front of you.
- Try to keep knees flexed at about 90 degrees.
- Have shoulders supported over your hips with arms beside you, flexed about 90 degrees.
- Computer screen should be roughly at eye level to prevent stress on the neck.
- Keyboard should be at roughly elbow level.
- Standing desks can be useful
Breaks are key too. For example, if you work on a laptop computer, it is virtually impossible to have both your screen at eye level and your shoulders in an ideal position. To help circumvent this challenge, take breaks. Stand up straight, go for a walk, or do other things to put your body in a more natural and neutral position.
If you are going to be working at home for the long haul, talk to your employer about allowances for desks, chairs, and desktop computers.