Keep a Healthy Home Workspace

Ergonomic Basics for Telecommuting
a small but comfortable home office off the living room

Working from home during COVID-19 became the new normal for many of us. As time goes by, some of us may return to the office full time, while others adopt a hybrid way of working, with work-from-home continuing in some fashion.

Regardless of which work situation is in your future, it makes sense to do a quick check-in to ensure that your set-up, either at home or at work, isn’t causing unnecessary strain on your body. 

Tips for Health in Your Workspace or Office

Make sure you are following these tips; your body will thank you.

  • Don't Lean Into The Screen

    Your computer should be on a surface about 18 inches from your face. “You’ll want the screen to be at eye level or a little higher or lower depending on whether you wear glasses,” says Brett M. Layden, DC, owner of Layden Chiropractic in Plainville, MA.

  • Get Natural Light and Natural Sights

    If you can, situate your workspace near a window (facing the window will give you a glare-free computer screen). An occasional glance outside can refresh your eyes and lift your spirits.

  • Find the Right Height for Your Chair

    Chair height should allow your hips to be a bit higher than your knees, says Dr. Layden.

  • Don't Criss-Cross Your Legs!

    Don’t cross your legs! Dr. Layden calls this practice “crisscross applesauce,” and says it can cause long-term hip issues as well as contributing to varicose veins.

  • Consider a Cushion

    Using a lumbar-support cushion can keep you aligned and comfortable.

  • Adjust Your Arms

    Adjustable arm rests will keep your hands comfortably above the keyboard, cutting down stress on your neck and the possibility of carpal-tunnel issues, says Dr. Layden.

  • Consider a Standing Desk

    If it’s within the budget, consider a variable-height desk. It gives the option of sitting, but not sitting too much.

  • Get Up and Move Once in a While

    Dr. Layden, who is also a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise, recommends taking exercise breaks throughout the workday.

    He advises basic warmups for the hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, about five minutes at a time, to be followed up with squats and lunges for those who are safely able to do those exercises.

  • Keep a Green Space

    Don’t forget to include plants in your space if possible. Greenery brings a natural feeling to your workspace. If live plants are not practical for you, decorate with botanical paintings or prints.

Sources: 

“10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office” by Gretchen Roberts, www.HGTV.com, 5/8/20

“21 DIY home office décor ideas to inspire a workspace refresh” by Lauren Bettenga, www.CountryLiving.com, 2/24/20

Personal communication: Brett Layden

 

Contributor

Nan Fornal

Taste For Life features articles and recipes by some of the best writers in all-natural wellness and nutrition.For more information, contact us.