As many of us are currently experiencing, working from home has both its benefits and challenges. While many may be excited to work in a more comfortable environment, it is important to consider ergonomics and posture as these play a huge role in our immediate and long term comfort and function. Although it may be tempting to curl up on the couch to do computer work, sitting at a desk or table promotes better positioning and posture. If we sit in a twisted or leaned position, we are likely to develop unilateral muscle tightness and compensations which have the potential to produce joint and muscle pain, particularly neck pain and back pain. By sitting square at a desk or table with feet flat and upright posture, a person is more likely to have a neutral spine which in turn promotes improved overall symmetry and therefore less compensations. Here are some key concepts to take into account when setting up your work stations:
- Sit in a hard, upright chair (non-reclining) and attempt to maintain an upright and neutral posture throughout
- Sit with feet flat on floor (do not cross legs) and try to achieve as close to 90 degrees of hip flexion and knee flexion as possible
- Table/desk height should allow ~90 degrees of elbow flexion with arms relaxed at side (do not shrug shoulders) and wrists should be in a neutral position.*
- Screen should be as close to eye level as possible.
*Please note: if working with a laptop, it is likely you will not be able to meet the criteria of both 3 and 4 due to the nature of a laptop, so just do the best you can. If working with a monitor and keyboard, try to elevate the monitor to eye level while keeping the keyboard at proper height as mentioned in #3.