Tips for Setting up Your Home Workstation

Find a chair- Ideally, your feet can rest flat on the floor. If not, you could put your feet on a footrest, box, or stack of books. The height should be such that your thighs are parallel to the floor.

  • When sitting on the chair, your hips and low back fit snugly against the back of the chair. Add a pillow or cushion behind your back if needed.

Work Height at the Computer

  • You want your elbows to be bent at around 90 degrees so that your forearms are parallel to the floor and your wrists are relatively straight when you have your hands on the keyboard. At this height, your shoulders should be relaxed.
  • If you are too low, raise your chair or sit on a firm pillow or cushion.

Monitor Position

  • To check your monitor height, gaze at the computer and determine if your eyes are at the top 1/3 of the screen. This will allow you to use a downward gaze when reading lower parts of the screen rather than bending your neck.
  • If you don’t have a monitor riser, a pack of printer paper will provide 2 inches of height. You could use more than one pack and or add a partial pack if needed. Alternatively, a stack of books or a small box would work.
  • Do you need to see through your bifocal lens when reading the screen? Tipping your neck back to read, is a real “pain in the neck”. In this case, your monitor will likely need to be lower. Experiment to find the best height in which your head can be level.
  • Speaking of straight, are you looking straight-on at the screen as opposed to having to rotate your neck? If you have two monitors, position the primary one directly in front of you and the other one as close as possible on an angle beside. If you use both monitors equally, position them on either side of the midline.
  • Have someone look at you while you are reading the screen and again check your head position. Is your chin poked forward or are you leaning into the screen? If so, slide your monitor closer. If you are too close you will subconsciously be leaning back. In that case, move the monitor back.

Laptop Positioning

  • It is challenging to work from a laptop for long periods of time because it is impossible to have both an ideal screen viewing position and an ideal keyboarding posture.
  • If you are able to plug in either a separate monitor or keyboard, that is helpful. Then adjust the heights as noted above. If not, you could try using a binder to raise the back of the laptop to elevate the screen height somewhat. However, this will have for a higher than ideal typing height.

Setting Up A Home Workstation Tips

Take More Breaks

  • While taking breaks from work activities has always been recommended, it is all the
    more important when working in less than ideal ergonomic situations.
  • Set a timer to get up every 20- 30 minutes, taking a short walk or to perform some
  • Take your laptop to a kitchen counter or breakfast bar to work from standing for 10
    or more minutes.
  • If it is not essential to be at your computer when on the phone, use this time to stand
    up or walk about.
  • Rest your eyes. Try the 20/20/20 Rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds and look
    20 feet away.
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