Ergonomic Tips for Working at Home

By Debra Staton, Wellness Coordinator for the Arkansas Health Network

Merriam-Webster defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.

I am not an ergonomics specialist, but I am speaking from experience. While working with a health management company, I had the opportunity to accompany an ergonomic specialist evaluating my client and their workspace. As far as personal experience, I have worked in a remote setting from my own home and learned what works best for me.

Even in the best work environment, we experience a lot of strain and discomfort, sometimes resulting in injuries. During this time of COVID-19, we have had to adapt to a new way of working, which means our work area might not be ideal.

So, let’s start with some small changes that can make a difference. You will notice one or two changes can make a big difference at the end of the day.

Tips to help eliminate bad posture and reduce strain on the body:

  • Practice moving your shoulders up, back and down. If you find yourself slumping, sit up straight and take notice of your awkward posture.
  • Remember take the 30/30 stretch. For every 30 minutes of sitting, move for 30 seconds to get the blood flowing, loosen muscles and re-focus. If needed, set your alarm to remember to take a break.
  • Evaluate your computer location. Depending on where you are sitting, you might need to put books under your monitor/laptop in order to be at the correct height. Your keyboard and mouse should be close to your body. You don’t want to reach too far and cause strain.
  • Where are you sitting? If you find yourself in a dining room chair, try sitting on a cushion and even roll up a towel for lower back support. It is important you make sure your feet are flat to the floor. You can also improve your stability and balance while sitting on an exercise ball. A stronger core helps protect the lower back and will promote better posture. To stay upright, you will be constantly engaging the core abdominal muscles.