If you’re reading this from your (new!) home office, you aren’t alone. With much of the North American workforce now telecommuting due to the coronavirus pandemic, many new considerations are unfolding—staying productive, balancing work and home life (hello homeschooling heroes!), and something you may not have thought about yet—ergonomics.
I don’t know about you, but I thought I could just snuggle up on the couch, or swivel on a stool at the kitchen island to crank out projects and emails. I quickly realized my home office setup needed to promote a healthy body position so I could do my best work.
Whether you’re working in a spare bedroom, at the kitchen table, in the basement, or in a weird closet, here are five ergonomic considerations for a proper work-from-home setup:
- When seated, make sure your feet are fully supported by the floor. Also think about your lower back: Does your chair provide lower back support and are you able to sit without feeling pressure from the chair on the back of your knees?
- Have your keyboard, mouse and work surface are at the same height as your elbow. Your wrists should be straight and upper arms relaxed.
- Your monitor/laptop should be right in front of you and at least an arm’s length away. The screen height should be right below eye level. Sitting too much? Use books or magazines for a makeshift standing desk.
- Rest your eyes using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you do it during a video call it might look like your internet went out and your face is frozen, but your colleagues will understand.
- Take mini-breaks, and move around throughout the day by getting out of your chair, standing, stretching, or chasing after pets or children (you might not have a choice on that last one!). One of my colleagues marches in place or squats during calls—Smart!
This is a helpful guide on workstation ergonomics from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Research Services, Division of Occupational Health and Safety website that goes into more detail.
[Related Reading: Tips for Working From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic]
The topic of this blog was inspired by a great conversation from our members on Foundation Community. If you’re a member and not already involved with Foundation Community, it’s a great resource for bouncing around ideas or best practices with colleagues from throughout the U.S. or Canada. If you have any additional tips on what’s working for you, please share in the comments below!
Coronavirus Resources for Plan Sponsors
- Visit the International Foundation Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page
- Catch up on the latest COVID-19 news from Word on Benefits
- Tune in to live or on-demand webcasts including:
- U.S. Public Sector Plan Response to COVID-19 | May 5, 2020
- Helping Workers Build Resilience Amid the Pandemic | May 6, 2020
- Managing Communication and Change During the COVID-19 Pandemic |May 7, 2020
How has your organization adapted during the pandemic? Share your story.
Communications Associate at the International Foundation
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