Creating a healthy, safe and productive work area
Find the Right Support
If possible, invest in a proper chair — preferably with many adjustment options — to help support your posture. Complement this with an ergonomic desk that will help keep you sitting straight and comfortable, with your wrists in a neutral position. Other options are a split keyboard, which positions keys at an angle more closely aligned to the natural bend of your arms, laptop/keyboard riser.
This setup can help reduce muscle fatigue, increase productivity and decrease the number and severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, muscle strains, and lower back injuries. Check your health insurance plan to see if it includes a Health Spending Account (HSA) or Personal Wellness Account (PWA) to help cover the costs of home office equipment.
Use What You Have
Even if you are on a tight budget and have limited space, you can set up a workstation that sets you up for good health, safety and success. Look for items in your home that give you the support you need. For example, an ironing board can substitute for a stand-up desk. A simple stack of books can raise your screen to the right eye level and minimize strain.
If you don’t have a work desk and an adjustable chair, choose a flat and solid surface, like a kitchen table, that allows you to place your computer directly in front of you and your documents nearby. Place a cushion or pillow on your seat to ensure elbows are at table height. If your chair does not have a lumbar support feature to protect your lower back, use a small pillow, or even a rolled-up towel instead.
Stay with Your Workstation
Resist the temptation to work from a couch or a bed with your feet up and the computer in your lap. As comfy as this may be, working this way eight hours a day can lead to musculoskeletal issues. Without a place to put your elbows, your neck and upper back muscles will have to work extra hard to support the weight of your arms, which will cause you to put more pressure on your wrists when using a keyboard and mouse.