Remote workstation best practices

When working from home, it is easily forgotten that your physical working practices and desk ergonomics should be just as appropriate to long term comfort as if you were in the office.

The following frequently overlooked points are straightforward, easy to achieve:

Chair / Seating

  • Make sure your chair is at the right height. Your forearms should be at the same level as the desk. Adjust your chair height so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor. This can help prevent repetitive strain injuries.
  • Ensure you are sitting right back into your chair, your lower back should be supported. Consider an accessory like a lumbar support. A correctly adjusted chair will reduce the strain on your back. It should be easily adjustable so you can change the height, back position and tilt.
  • Once you have adjusted your seat to the correct height, use a footrest if (and only if) your feet are dangling.
  • Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Place your feet flat on the floor. If they are not, use a footrest if it feels necessary. Do not cross your legs, as this may contribute to posture-related problems.

Screen / Accessories

  • When using the keyboard make sure, your elbows should be by the side of your body so your arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint. Some people like to use a wrist rest to keep their wrists straight and at the same level as the keys.
  • Your screen should be as glare-free as possible. If there is glare on your screen, hold a mirror in front of the screen so you know what is causing it. Position the monitor to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If necessary, pull blinds across the windows. Adjusting the screen’s brightness or contrast can make it much easier to use.
  • Make sure your screen is an arm’s length from you and that the top of your monitor is at eye level. Use monitor blocks or books to raise your screen to the right height.
  • If you have bifocal spectacles, you may find them less than ideal for computer work. It is important to be able to see the screen easily without having to raise or lower your head.

Physical strain

  • If you are using a laptop, use an external keyboard and mouse. This prevents putting tension on the shoulders through excessive reaching and avoids putting undue pressure on your wrists. You should also use a laptop stand to put the screen into a higher position to avoid strain on the neck.
  • If you spend a lot of time on the phone, try exchanging your handset for a headset or headphones. Repeatedly cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder can strain the muscles in your neck.
  • Do not sit in the same position for too long. Make sure you change your posture as often as is practicable. Frequent short breaks are better for your back than fewer long ones. It gives the muscles a chance to relax while others take the strain.
  • And to help avoid eye strain and dryness, when looking at a screen for a long time remember to look away and focus on things at greater distance at regular intervals and blink repeatedly to encourage the production of tears.

If you have any questions or require any more information please don’t hesitate to email matthew.parker@4itrecruitment.co.uk

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