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Workplace Ergonomics: Long-Term Tips for Working from Home

Workplace Ergonomics: Long-Term Tips for Working from Home

by Clinton Boone, PT, DPT1 Comment

This year has seen a drastic increase in the number of people working from home. This change
was sudden and unplanned for many people. Therefore, scores of people have turned their
kitchen countertops and dining room tables into a home office. Many have gone from
more ergonomically-sound setups in an office to a quick makeshift setup at home. The
following are long-term tips for those working from home for the foreseeable future.

Ensure Proper Posture

Your body should make a series of 90-degree angles to ensure the best posture when working for longer periods at a desk. To achieve these angles and proper posture, you may have to make modifications to your desk setup (e.g. footstool, change chair height, etc.)

  • Head should be positioned above the body. Be sure to avoid a forward, protruding head, which will cause rounding of the spine.
  • Eyes should be level with the top of your monitor
  • Elbows should be close to the body and at approximately 90 degrees.
  • Arms should be parallel to the floor
  • Chair should be adjustable and have the ability to roll and swivel. This will allow for more ease when grabbing objects throughout the day, which ultimately puts less pressure on the spine and body.
  • Feet should be flat on the floor. Some will either need to adjust their chair height or use a foot stool to achieve this.

Ergonomic Do’s and Don’ts: Long Term Home Office/Classroom Tips

Take Breaks

Taking breaks away from work demands is vital to being a productive employee with work-related tasks. Breaks should include an activity unrelated to your job including1:

  • Stretching
  • Walking
  • Meditation
  • Being social, even virtually! Consider calling a friend, video chatting, etc.

The optimal frequency and duration of breaks during work varies, but most studies suggest that a 5-minute break every 30 minutes or a 15-minute break every 90 minutes can do wonders and help boost long-term productivity. At the very least, follow the 20/20/20 rule, meaning every 20 minutes, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help reduce eye strain.2

Remember to Stretch

Prolonged seated posture can be disastrous to one’s posture and overall health. If sitting with improper posture for months, years, or even decades, negative long-term effects can result (e.g. rounded back, forward head, etc.) Some simple stretches can help undo some of the damage caused by improper
prolonged sitting. Check out this blog for some examples you can do right at your desk!

When in Doubt, See a Healthcare Professional

Aches and pains related to working from home may not simply go away on their own. If you notice symptoms that will not go away (or that get worse), visit your nearest Athletico Physical Therapy to get your symptoms checked out. Your clinician can develop a plan-of-care individually tailored to your needs, or he or she can refer you out to the appropriate medical professional. Get started by scheduling your Free Assessment. Free assessments are available in-clinic or virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

Physical therapy is usually the thing you are told to do after medication, x-rays or surgery. The best way to fix your pain is to start where you normally finish – with physical therapy at Athletico.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

References:
1. https://weworkremotely.com/science-says-you-have-to-stop-taking-breaks-wrong-to-be-more-productive
2. http://www.bu.edu/articles/2020/10-ergonomics-dos-and-donts-for-those-now-working-from-home/

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Ergonomicsergonomics tipswork from homework from home tipsworkplace ergonomics

1 Comment

  1. Robert S.

    I can’t stress enough the importance of taking breaks throughout the workday. No matter how much one enjoys their work, it’s important to take a step back and mentally recharge.

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