Aviva Family Chiropractic
Working From Home? 5 Tips for an Ergonomic Workstation
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Now that remote work is the norm, it’s important to have the best ergonomic workstation. We spend a lot of time at our desks, and 8+ hours a day of slouching or straining your neck can cause back pain and spinal problems down the line.
When shopping for desks, understand that they’re built for everyone, not specifically for your size and shape. Fortunately, there are easy yet impactful tweaks you can do to your home office setup to prevent stress on your spine and muscles.
Here are our top five tips to creating a comfortable and productive workspace.
1. Locate a Good Workspace Area
To start, you’ll want to set up your desk in a room or space with ample natural light, such as near a window. Natural light is proven to boost your mood and productivity, which definitely comes in handy. Also, poor lighting will make your eye muscles work harder than they should.
When setting up, make sure that you’re facing the light so that it doesn’t reflect off the screen and strain your eyes.
2. Use a Supportive Chair
The average desk height is 29 inches tall, so keep this in mind when choosing a chair. You don’t want one that’s similar to your natural sitting style, since you may be used to sitting with incorrect posture.
Instead, look for a chair, preferably adjustable, that indicates lumbar support for your spine and cushioning designed for extended sitting. A headrest is helpful too, as it can reduce neck strain.
When seated at your desk, the first step is to adjust the height of your chair so that your arms are bent at a 90º with your hands on the keyboard. This helps you avoid twisting your wrist. Next, make sure the chair has a slight recline for a good resting posture.
Lastly, your feet should be flat so that your knees remain in line with your hips. If your feet don’t touch the floor, consider using a book or stool to prop them up.
3. Adjust Your Monitor Height
Now that your desk and chair are set, take a look at your monitor position. You’ll want the monitor placed at about arms length from you, the ideal distance to read without straining or changing your posture. The top of the monitor should also be eye level.
As for a laptop, we recommend you place it on a stand that raises the height of the screen at eye level. If you don’t have an adjustable laptop stand, you can use books or packs of paper to raise it up. It’s also best to connect a separate keyboard to your laptop so that your arms and wrists remain relaxed.
4. Ensure Keyboard and Mouse Alignment
Speaking of arms and wrists, your keyboard and mouse should be where your hands naturally rest on the desk. This creates a neutral wrist position that can help prevent injury to it, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
As for alignment, you don’t want your mouse to be too far to the left or right. A good rule of thumb is to have all your desk tools within hand reach.
5. Remember to Move!
Great ergonomics will support long periods of sitting, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle (such as muscle pain and spinal problems). It’s highly recommended to get up at least once every hour from your desk to stand, stretch, and walk.
Standing desks have become increasingly popular for this reason and are great to have in your workspace at home!
Be sure to incorporate these ergonomic tips for your children, too! Remember, good posture and sitting habits all play a role in keeping our spines healthy and joints strong. If after this you realize your pain and joint problems are possibly a result of poor ergonomics, chiropractic care can help.
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