The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed a lot of businesses in companies to implement work from home policies to keep their operations going. And while it does come with benefits for some people, like better productivity and morale, it also shares a few problems with working in the office. This includes stress injuries that come with repetitive tasks like typing, using a mouse, and sitting down all day.
According to the National Safety Council, over 33.54 percent of workplace injuries come from overexertion when lifting or moving something and or doing repetitive motions. And these injuries often cause visits to the clinic to get back or neck pain treatment.
The most common injuries that cause employees to take sick days are soreness or pain. You’ll likely experience the same problems when working from home, as you’ll spend more or less the same hours on your work. You want to focus on doing your job not on alleviating the pain and discomfort that comes with it.
If you want to keep your body healthy while remote working, you need to make your set-up more ergonomic. Here’s how to do it.
Establish a Dedicated Work Area
As comfortable as working on your bed or couch is at first, it’ll give you back and neck discomfort and even pain. This is because it forces you into an awkward position or prolonged periods of time. Plus, you want to have a division between the relaxation that your bed provides and the — face it — stress that work brings. Choose a place in your home that’s away from distractions and with enough space where you can move legs and arms around without accidentally hitting anything.
Get a Better Chair and Desk
If you’re still using your dinner table chair while working, you’ve probably experienced tightness and pain in your back and neck. This is because the shape of your chair doesn’t support the curves of your spine.
What you should look for in an ergonomic chair include:
- Lumbar support — Your lumbar spine on your lower back curves inward. If you slouch, it gets forced into an unnatural position. Your chair should feature lower back support in the form of a cushion or mesh frame that’s adjustable according to your lumbar spine’s position. It makes all the difference.
- Reclining capabilities — Everybody’s spine is different. As such, the backrest on your chair should be reclinable to ensure that your spine isn’t getting pushed in too much while you’re resting on it.
- Armrests — These support your arms while you’re typing for prolonged periods of time. They should also be adjustable to ensure your forearms are parallel to the floor and that your shoulders aren’t hunched while you’re working.
- Height — Your chair’s height should also be adjustable. Experts recommend that you keep your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Your feet should also lay flat on the floor. If it isn’t, get a footrest or a small stool. Letting your feet dangle can pinch blood vessels and nerves in your legs and increase stress on your spine.
If possible, get a desk that also has an adjustable height. This way, you can take breaks and work standing up for a few hours before sitting back down again. Your table should also have enough space under it for your legs to move around in.
Get Ergonomic Computer Peripherals
Prolonged typing and mouse use can lead to a variety of hand and arm problems if you’re not careful. Repetitive movements that involve your wrist could inflame the tendons in your carpal tunnel. This welling can pinch your median nerve and cause numbness and pain in your hands and wrist. This condition is known as carpal tunnel syndrome and it can cause permanent damage to your hand and arms if you’re not careful.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the few conditions related to repetitive movement, too. Avoid them by getting ergonomic computer peripherals. ;
- Keyboard — Instead of a regular keyboard, opt for a tented and curved one like the Kinesis Freestyle and Microsoft Sculpt. These are designed specifically to minimize the demanding twists that your and turns your hands have to do to press on keys. If possible, get one with a wrist rest too to minimize the amount of bending your wrist has to do while typing.
- Mouse — Vertical mice follow the natural, handshake position that your hands are used to. You don’t have to bend or stiffen your wrist to use them. The Logitech MX vertical and Anker Vertical Wireless are your best bets. They both have great shapes and feature wireless connectivity.
Ergonomics is defined as designing something for efficiency and comfort while working. These suggestions help you create a remote workspace that keeps you not only comfortable but also productive. They’re worth the money you spend if it means you finish work every day pain-free.