Working From Home? – How to position your work station

Monitor / Screen

  • If a monitor is positioned poorly it can put you at risk of various chronic conditions especially of the eye neck and back.
  • Too low causes a downward eye gaze, an increased neck angle, and forward bending of the upper back. This position also causes fatigue to occur much earlier in the workday.
  • Too high leads strained neck and upper back.

Tips

  • Position your monitor at arm’s length away,
  • Make the height in line with your eye gaze approximately 10cm below your eye height

Reduce glare by positioning screen perpendicular to any windows.

Key boards

  • Risk of carpal tunnel repetitiveness and exaggerated force applications repetitive strain injury

Tips

  • Use a keyboard tilted no more than 15 degrees

Mouse

  • When using your mouse people typically extend their arms and raise their shoulders for extended periods of time putting them at risk of musculoskeletal injury.

Tips

  • Use your mouse at elbow height
  • Use a mouse pad
  • Minimise prolonged dragging tasks
  • Use your other hand for non-mouse related tasks as much as possible

Lighting

  • Inadequate office lighting may cause visual discomfort, which can lead to neck, shoulder, and/ or forearm pain.
  • Watch for excessive natural light (is the sun directly shining into the room) and bright overhead lighting as this can cause glare that leads to tired eyes

Tips

  • Light in the room should be brighter than the screen but not exceed 3 times the screen’s luminance

Seating

  • Seated work increases the risk of low back pain. When sitting, it is very easy to slump into an awkward posture that increases your risk of back injuries and discomfort.

Tips

  • Using a dynamic (adjustable) chair as opposed to a fixed chair is an easy way to help prevent low back pain associated with sitting.
  • Try to achieve 90 degrees at the hips, elbows and knees.
  • A chair should allow for easily varied sitting postures in order to allow the spine to move rather than attempting to constrain people in an “ideal” sitting position.
  • A chairs should have a lumbar (low back) support

Stretching and rest breaks

  • Take a break every 25 minutes

Easy stretches that can be performed at work include the following:

1. Open up your hands, and spread fingers as far apart as possible.

2. Cross your right arm straight across your body, and pull it closer with a bent left arm locked at the elbow. Repeat with the opposite arm.

3. Bring your right ear toward your right shoulder. Use your right hand to apply gentle overpressure to your head. Repeat to the left.

4. Stand up and cross your right leg over your left. Reach your arms above your head, and stretch all the way to the right, while pushing out your left hip. Repeat to the opposite direction.

5. Bend trunk forward with knees slightly bent, and grab behind your knees. Slowly extend your knees and arch your back.

Using a laptop

Although convenient spending long periods of time on a laptop does not allow for functional positioning. The screen is often too low causing your head and neck to frequently be flexed and tilted downward.

Tips

  • Position the laptop in line with your gaze on a table, use books or boxes to prop up the screen where necessary to allow your upper arms to be relaxed and in a comfortable position.
  • Then Connect an external mouse and keyboard to be used instead of the laptop track pad and keyboard to reduce strains in your fingers and wrists.

OR

  • Connect your laptop to a correctly positioned monitor, and use the monitor as your screen (not the laptop screen)
  • attach an external mouse if possible

If none of these options work for you

  • Try to limit your screen time
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Stand up, move about and stretch regularly.

If you feel any discomfort stop, change posture and experiment with different positions.

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