More people are telecommuting than ever before as businesses ask their employees to work from home during the current public health crisis. Awkward and static postures have been known to cause musculoskeletal pain and discomfort in laptop users when ergonomics are ignored or not fully understood. Laptops are not ergonomically correct by design and it is important that you take steps to set up your home workstation with comfort and safety in mind.
Beacon provides 4 tips to help promote comfort at your home workstation:
- Position the laptop on your desk/worksurface in front of you so that you can see the screen without bending your neck in a forward direction. This will require you to elevate the laptop above the workstation using a stable support surface such as a computer monitor pedestal, books, box, laptop stand/riser, or whatever is available. Try and have the top of your head and the top of the monitor at the same height to promote neutral neck alignment. According to the Washington Post, when your neck is bent to 60 degrees, your neck has to hold up about 60 pounds so get that head up into neutral!
- It is strongly recommended from the ergonomic perspective that you use a separate keyboard and mouse. You should be able to connect a keyboard and mouse directly to the back of the laptop through the USB port or to a docking station.
- Position the keyboard so that it is at or within an inch below elbow height. This is generally difficult or impossible to do if using a standard height work surface such as a kitchen table, counter or home desk. First, try raising the chair to its maximum height. Secondly, consider a keyboard tray of some sort or lowering the desk height if possible; be creative.
- Get out of the static postures every 30 minutes and perform simple workstation active exercises like shoulder rolls, shoulder shrugs, arm circles, finger fans, elbow bending and straightening, and active neck range of motion. Basically, just get out of the static postures for at least a few minutes every 30 minutes; stand, move, and walk around.
Download these Ergo Bulletins for more office ergonomics tips:
- Office Ergonomic Self-help Checklist
- Telecommuting Safety
- Monitors: Single Monitor, Dual Monitors, Reducing Glare on Monitors
- Sit or Stand Workstations
- Beacon's Ergonomic Services
Visit Beacon's Safety Library for the complete list of Ergo Bulletins and Safety Alerts.
New Webinar: Working Remotely During Covid-19
Beacon is offering a new webinar called "Working Remotely During Covid-19" designed for those who are new to working remotely. This webinar provides tips for employees who do not normally telecommute, and it addresses the unique challenges to working from home during the pandemic. Read more.