At this point of the pandemic, you’ve probably already grown used to working from home. You may even be thriving in your job now that you can work in your pajamas and don’t have to suffer through your daily commute. However, you may have been neglecting one important factor of working–office ergonomics.
Office ergonomics involves the process of setting up the workplace so that it is conducive to productive and comfortable work. With proper ergonomics at home, you will have decreased risk of body pain and increased productivity levels, as well as better work morale.
Are you maintaining good office ergonomics while working from home? Or are you guilty of one or more of these ergonomic mistakes?
Working from the couch or bed
The couch and bed are the two most comfortable places in the house. However, they are not ideal places for work as your body will be forced into awkward positions to use your laptop. If you keep committing this mistake for too long, you are more likely to end up experiencing various types of body pain, particularly in your lower back as working from the bed or couch tends to make us hunch our back.
If you are already experiencing back pain because of this habit, consider a chiropractic adjustment or treatment to get some relief.
Sitting in a bad chair
An ergonomic chair is one that has an adjustable height and provides lumbar support for your back. The kitchen chair you’re sitting on right now may not be as ‘ergonomic’.
Consider investing in a good office chair with at least an adjustable height and back support. If this is out of your budget, buy a back support device for your current chair to help you maintain proper posture while sitting and avoid back pain.
Staying in one position for too long
Whether it’s in the office or at home, we’re all guilty of staying in one spot for hours at a time. It’s easy to forget to give your body some rest when you’re absorbed in work and stuck in one Zoom meeting after another. However, this can lead to all sorts of physical issues, including muscle pain, cramps, and numbness.
To avoid this mistake, make it a point to switch your position at least once every 90 minutes. For example, after 90 minutes of working from your desk, place your laptop on a higher surface and work while standing. Go back to your original position after another 90 minutes or perhaps work from your recliner. Changing your position every once in a while will give your body some time to recover, helping you avoid body pain while also alleviating some of your boredom.
Sticking with bad lighting
Natural light is the best type of light when it comes to boosting productivity and mood. If you work during the day, allow as much natural light into the room as you can, but don’t place your computer near the window to avoid glare on your screen.
Artificial lights, on the other hand, should be bright enough to provide adequate illumination to your workspace. However, they should not make your computer screen difficult to read. If the overhead lights do not provide enough light, put a table lamp on your desk or place a floor lamp near you.
Using an exercise ball as a chair
An exercise ball is used to throw you off balance and strengthen your core in the process. It is not meant to be used as an office chair, no matter how many fitness articles tell you how it’s a better option than a regular chair. Sure, you can use it while working to squeeze in a bit of ab workout into your day, but not for more than ten minutes. Otherwise, you are activating your core excessively and in turn, putting too much pressure on your back.
Staring at the screen for too long
This includes your computer, TV, smartphone, and every other device that has a screen. Excessive screen time can lead to eye strain, which often causes eye fatigue, dryness, itchiness, and sometimes even headaches.
Avoid eye strain by practicing the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes of work, look at something at least 20 meters away for 20 seconds. Moreover, avoid using your smartphone when taking a break from your work–find something else to entertain you that doesn’t involve a screen.
By avoiding these ergonomic mistakes, you’re making your work-from-home set-up more productive, comfortable, and healthy. And since the work-from-home setup is likely to stay, it’s best to start getting rid of these habits as early as now.