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5 Ergonomic Rules to Live By When Working From Home
The year of 2021 brought dramatic changes to the workplace, mainly the rise of working from home. And now, a year later it seems that remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’ve been putting off updating your home office, now is the time to ensure an ergonomic workspace for long term success.
We all know working from home can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, but did you know it can lead to long term health problems, such as back pain, sore wrists, fatigued eyes and even carpal tunnel? The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety stresses the importance of incorporating stretching exercises into your work routine, along with a proper workstation to prevent poor posture and reduced blood circulation. Convinced yet?
At Work-Fit Total Therapy Centre, our highly qualified therapists and ergonomic specialists provide expert treatment for work-related injuries. Our Certified Assessment Specialists conduct on-site evaluations of the jobs’ ergonomic requirements, examining the fit between the workers and the work. So it’s safe to say we know a thing or two about preventing an on-the-job injury.
Here are our five golden rules to live by when working ergonomically from home:
If you’re ready to start working on building up perfect posture, here are five healthy habits to instill:
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
If you often find your eyes glazing over while staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day––you’re not alone. Eye strain is one of the most common workplace health hazards, but there are a few simple solutions that can help, such as the 20-20-20 rule. It is key to reducing eye fatigue and goes as follows: every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds. Another great tool for eye health is investing in a pair of blue light glasses, which are designed with filters in their lenses to help absorb blue light and prevent retina exposure.
Stretch your Wrists and Hands
During your break, it’s important to rest both your eyes, along with your wrists. “One of the best exercises you can do to help wrist and joint pain after typing all day is wrist flexion and extension stretches,” says Dr. Natasha Speedie. “Beyond that, I would highly recommend investing in an external mouse and keyboard to ensure your arms are relaxed and everything is within easy reaching distance. The last thing you want to be doing is reaching and overarching the muscles all day.”
Take a Break Outdoors
The great outdoors remains one of the best natural medicines. Be sure to take a walking break outdoors during your lunch hour, not only for a change of scenery, but to sneak in a quick and effective workout. According to a
recent report,spending just 29 minutes outdoors in nature can result in a 45% increase in productivity; and 63% of employees reported feeling much better after getting some fresh air.
Ensure Your Workstation is Ergonomically Correct
One of the biggest errors in setting up an ergonomic workstation from home is incorrect height placement. Start by investing in a sitting-standing desk to help reduce chances of a sedentary workday, as well as providing adjustability. “Sitting in any one position can cause muscles and joints to tighten, so having multiple options for comfort throughout the day is key,” says Speedie.
“The most important thing to remember for computer placement is that the middle of your screen should always be at eye level. If you have a laptop, get a wireless mouse and keyboard to keep things at eye level and your hands relaxed.”
Maintain Good Posture
When it comes to posture, it’s easy to let it slip our minds. But there are few things more important than maintaining an aligned spine when sitting through long work days.
Finally, ensure your feet are planted firmly on the ground with knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Even when it’s really tempting, try and avoid propping your legs up, as this can lead to irritating your sciatic nerve for days to come (and who wants that?).
To learn more work from home tips, receive stretching advice, or to treat a workplace injury, reach out to one of our ergonomic specialists at 905.845.9540 or email us here.