Ergonomic safety at home

As workplaces try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workers may find themselves unconventionally working from home. While working from home has clear advantages, it’s important to remember that new work spaces can pose concerns. Where you work and how you work is important to your health and safety. You should avoid working from couches or other soft surfaces that do not have a stable work surface and lack support for your back. Take the following ergonomic precautions when working from home.

1) Check your posture regularly.

Maintain proper posture, paying careful attention to the positioning of your head, neck, spine, arms, wrists, hips, thighs and feet. Basically, ensure the small of your back is supported, your shoulders are relaxed (not slumped and not elevated) and that there is no pressure under your thighs. Sure, you can do everything from your laptop while sitting on the wooden chair at your kitchen table, but you can’t do it without putting yourself at risk. Laptop designs can cause poor postures in the neck, shoulders and wrists. These postures can be made worse depending on where the laptop is positioned (e.g. in the user’s lap, on a surface that is too low or too high). Awkward postures can lead to pain, muscle strain and pinched nerves.

2) Don’t ignore discomfort.

There are many reasons why computer users experience discomfort. At best, discomfort is an annoyance and can inhibit productivity. At worst, it can lead to injuries and/or disabilities. It’s important to address discomfort and the possible causes of it as soon as possible.

3) Take your breaks in full.

Take frequent mini-breaks throughout the day to give muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover. Your body wants you to move. Also be sure to take breaks in their entirety. Don’t short-change yourself, especially during your lunch hour. You can use a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. If you return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk for another 20.