The COVID-19 pandemic forced changes and caused a major shift in how and where people work. As a result of this unprecedented change, employees made the transition to working from home. When employees began to transition home, the assumption was they may only be home for a few weeks, rather than the months-long transition that occurred in most scenarios.

Employees were often working from their couches, beds and floors without ergonomic support, in addition to using the small screens of the laptop.

Desks and chairs directly affect how one positions their body and whether the surfaces are creating contact pressure on parts of the body such as the knees or wrists. Ergonomic positioning is key to reducing strain, which can lead to discomfort and eventual injury. How a person organizes the workstation influences whether they must excessively twist their bodies or hold body parts in non-neutral positions.

For office employees, whether at home or in their employers building, proper workstation setup and posture are key in reducing risks of muscle and joint fatigue. It is important to begin with a chair, as it affects all other components of the workstation. Adjustable chairs are best because they allow workers to position their bodies at the desk or workstations so their arms are supported, and their wrists are in a neutral position. A worker’s feet should be flat on the floor. The chair lumbar support should be positioned in the small of the back with a chair reclined from 90° – 110°. The shoulders and elbows should be in a relaxed and natural alignment while typing.

Employees should have correctly positioned monitors. Monitor screens should be at eye level height an arm’s length away. The employees neck also should not have to turn 30° or more left or right to look at the monitor, which can be assessed by slightly turning the head to the side. Phones are sometimes held or cradled between the neck and shoulder, which increases fatigue. Using a hands-free headset or having virtual/video calls to eliminate phone use can help mitigate risk. Having a computer mouse that allows the hand to be in line with the shoulder, along with keeping the mouse on the same surface as the keyboard is best. When using the keyboard, wrist should be in a neutral position with relax shoulders.

Many employees working from their home using laptops have found that purchasing inexpensive docking stations, external monitors, wireless keyboards or mouse solutions to be very helpful. The idea that worker comfort promotes work efficiency.

Please contact our office if you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding your home or office ergonomic needs.