Ergonomics: the study of people’s efficiency in their work environment.
At the beginning of quarantine, employers sent their employees home with not much more than deadlines and a laptop. Is that really all we are prioritizing right now? Efficiency over safety?
“Ergonomics has to do with the whole of a person and all human factors, or psychosocial factors. In other words, all of the things that go into the experience of someone’s work environment.” – Merl Miller, Performance Ergonomics.
Working from home may become the new normal for many individuals. That’s why we need to make it as safe and effective as possible. Your poor posture or tension headaches may seem annoying but manageable right now. However these are things that could cause long term injury, limit your joint range of motion later in life, and reduce your overall effectiveness and productivity at work.
Here are the biggest environmental factors that can cause discomfort and lead to long term injury:
Type of chair used
Monitor Screens – below eye level
Most of our work from home is done on some sort of electronic device such as a laptop, desktop, or ipad. A monitor screen needs to be at eye level in order to prevent neck strain and poor posture.
According to a research article published in the “Home Office Ergonomics Lessons,” 52% of monitors set up in a person’s home were too low! Over half of these individuals working from home are suffering from poor posture because of a relatively quick fix that can be applied within minutes.
Type of chair used – low quality
Most chairs that are in our homes are really only made for up to 2 hours of sitting. Most people who are working from home work triple or quadruple that amount for an entire workday.
Chances are that not everyone thinks about proper seating when building their makeshift office because they assume it will be temporary. However, this may be our new normal, so it’s important to make the equipment you are using safe, especially how you sit. Check out these ergonomic chairs at Performance Ergonomics!
Workstations – overall
The overall workstation should inspire efficiency and safety, even at home. This includes input devices such as a keyboard or mouse which need to have proper spacing and separation from the monitor itself. By using keyboards that are too condensed, this forces the shoulders to round, head to jut forward, and limits range of motion in posture overall.
The desk or table you are working at should be at elbow height which places the keyboard and mouse at about the same height. This promotes correct posture and eliminates strain on muscles in the shoulders, arms, and back.
By taking the time to set up a proper work station, you will ensure that you are reducing your risk of injury and also increasing your effectiveness and productivity. The concept of working from home long term needs to be addressed for long term health sooner rather than later. Try our livestream classes for free to get moving from home throughout your work day!