WORKSTATION ERGONOMICS: SETTING UP YOUR WORKSTATION TO WORK FOR YOU!Jordan Walsh
Over the past year and a half, many of us are dealing with the new work environment or working from home. This has created many struggles for people wondering how to set up their work station in an environment that wasn’t created for sitting and working 8 hours a day. If you’re one of those people who has been working from your bed or couch, your living room table, or from a makeshift desk space, this post is for you! I am going to outline a few key things to check when setting up your workspace to optimize your posture and decrease that nagging neck pain and low back pain associated with an improper workstation.
1. Make sure your desktop or monitor is at eye level. This means that if you are sitting with both feet planted on the floor and are looking straight ahead, the center of the screen should be at eye level. Most of you will find that you spend the majority of your day looking down at the screen due to the fact that your screen or monitor is too low. You can correct this by boosting the monitor up with stacks of papers, or books (or if you’re like me and want everything to look nice, you can find monitor stand risers or sit-to-stand desks on Amazon).
2. Keep your arms at a relaxed 90 degree angle. This becomes difficult for people who work from a laptop. If you have a laptop and have followed step 1, you will find that you cannot both have your screen at eye level, and your arms at a relaxed 90 degrees. For this, I recommend investing in a bluetooth keyboard. This way you are able to both elevate your screen, and protect your neck, shoulders and wrists.
3. Check to make sure you have a nice lumbar support at the back of your chair. This means that working from a soft chair, sofa, or bed is not a good option and is most certainly leading to more pain and discomfort. A lumbar support is simply a small curve in the lowest portion of your chair that puts gentle pressure on the lower back, aiding it into its proper position when seated. If the chair you are using does not have this feature, use a rolled towel, small pillow, or invest in a lumbar support to use during this time and place it at the lowest part of the low back, where the tailbone and low back meet.
4. Keep both feet planted on the floor. It is easy to forget and sit with your legs crossed or with one foot underneath your hips, but try not to do this. Keeping your feet down allows for your pelvis to rest in the proper position, helping your lower back from wanting to tighten up when you go from sitting for a long period of time, to standing.
We hope this gives you the basics you need to set up a more comfortable and posture friendly WFH workstation!
Dr. Jordan Walsh