With necessity being the mother of invention, the current spread of COVID-19 coronavirus is sending many people home to work remotely. But when working occasionally at the laptop from the sofa turns into a days-long devotion to the computer at home, you're best served by taking stock of your home workspace and making healthy adjustments.
A good workspace plan will take away the "incline to recline," according to Sue Helton-Groce, ergonomics coordinator at Franciscan WorkingWell. She offers the following advice for bringing ergonomics into your home space for telecommuting during the coronavirus outbreak.
When Using A Laptop
- Be creative in finding a comfortable space to place your laptop. Consider setting it on a cleaned kitchen countertop, washer or dryer (non-running!) so you can stand while working.
- Make sure your laptop placement allows you to keep your shoulders relax and your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
- Position adequate lighting. You’ll probably want more light than what your laptop provides.
- Take frequent breaks away from your laptop. Chances are you will be tilting your head to view your laptop screen, and you want to "neutralize your neck" by bringing your neck, chin and head back to a normal posture.
- Make sure those breaks include looking away into the distance to reduce eye strain.
When Using A Desktop Computer
- Make sure that, when standing or sitting, the top of your computer screen is slightly below eye level. You shouldn't have to look down to see the screen, for this will cause strain in your neck and shoulders over time.
- Take frequent breaks to avoid eyestrain and add additional lighting to your work area.
Working while standing may be easier to do at home than in your office cubicle, and Helton-Groce encourages people to try it, as long as it's comfortable. When standing with a laptop or desktop computer, shift your weight on your legs frequently. Consider wearing shoes with some cushion as well. March in place a little to add to your daily step count! And take sitting breaks when needed.
Check out more tips for a healthy workplace, whether that work space is in the office or at home.
For updates on Franciscan Health's response to the coronavirus, visit FranciscanHealth.org/covid-19.
By Jennifer Hawke