Whilst working from home has always been the norm for some, for others it was a totally new experience and with the speed in which it happened there was little opportunity for people to set-up the perfect office at home.
. . . and now we are three months down the line, some of you may be heading back to the office, but for others it’s likely that working from home will continue for quite some time and possibly even become permanent.
Whilst there is no real short-term risk, back and neck pain and deteriorating eyesight are often found to be the result of the long-term usage of display screen equipment and therefore it is important that you take a few minutes to think about the suitability your workspace and if there are any changes you need to make in order to improve your health and well-being.
With this in mind . . .I have five quick and simple checks for you to consider, particularly if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated office space in your home.
Firstly, where possible the keyboard should be separate to the screen and ideally have the option for you to tilt it so that your wrists are at a comfortable angle and in line with your forearms.
A separate mouse and trackball should also be used, and these should be positioned close to the keyboard to prevent overstretching.
The Screen – Where possible this should be separate to your computer/laptop and you should be able to adjust the height and tilt of it so that the top is level with your eyes without having to bend or stretch your neck. Text should be easy to read, the brightness and contrast should be adjustable and the screen should be free from glare.
Then we come to your desk space and chair? Unless you have a dedicated office space within your home you could well be using a dining table and chair, breakfast bar or even a camping table and chair . . . but how comfortable are you? The small of your back should be supported by the chair’s backrest, your shoulders should be relaxed, feet should be flat to the floor, and if you have arm rests these should allow your arms to remain horizontal when typing. As for space, can you move freely? Is your equipment arranged to give you the optimum working area? Make sure the things you use most are within easy reach and that there are no trailing cables for you or anyone else to fall over.
And finally . . . the environment, are you happy with the levels of heat, air, lighting and noise. Consider using an extra lamp if it is too dim; Can you open a window or use a fan to help with air circulation, maybe you need to turn the heating up or down.
It may not be possible to get perfection but a few small changes in terms of ergonomics could make a significant difference to your long-term health and well-being.
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