16 May Troubleshooting Your At-Home Workspace
Working from home brings a whole new set of problems to light, not the least of which is your kids barging in or your dog barking when you are trying to take a call. The last thing you need is back or neck pain.
Sadly, because you likely don’t have a proper ergonomic set-up at your at-home ‘desk’, this is a high probability. You may not connect the two…you may think the pain is from being less active…but its likely from this new set-up.
So here is what you need to look at to build your space. Granted, I realize most of you in NYC will be working from a dining room table so lets be honest here, we need the bare minimum you need to get by with that!
1.Your keyboard: should be far enough away from you that 1/2 to 3/4 of your forearm is supported on the table. For most of you that should mean your keyboard should sit further back on the table. This could be improved in the graphic above as they are about 1/3-1/2.
Your arms should fall onto the table as if your arms were hanging down beside your body, just bent at the elbows. So your elbows should be ideally at 90 degrees. This means you shouldn’t have to use your shoulders at all. In fact, your shoulder blades should remain back and down just a slight bit the entire time.
2. Chair: Your feet should be on the floor with your knees bent to 90 degrees. Your back is ideally supported against the chair or with a rolled towel behind you and secured to the chair. Even if you have an ergonomic chair, you need to maintain a curve in your lower back so you are not slumping at all forward. Keep your abdominals in towards your spine.
3. Screen: For those of you with a desk top, make sure the screen is at eye level (the center of the screen). With a laptop this becomes challenging. If the screen is put at eye level, your arms will now not be able to reach ergonomically. The best advise here is to drop the screen back as far as it will go that you can still read the screen well. This way you refrain from looking down very far to see it. Be sure, in this circumstance to sit with your shoulder blades back and your neck and chin back so you don’t bend down from your neck, but rather from the top of your neck. However, better than this, prop your laptop up on a few books (or buy a laptop stand) to get it eye level. Then invest in a separate keyboard. This investment is totally worth it!
4. Take frequent breaks. Roll your shoulders in circles, perform shoulder squeezes bringing your shoulder blades back as far as they go. I don’t mean to look through the fridge, although I daresay that’s one of the pitfalls of working from home!
5. Stretch: Even simple yoga stretches can help ward off pain. (Stay tuned for videos on the subject!)
If you are experiencing pain, look to some of my other videos on back and neck pain to alleviate it!