Work from Home and Online Class Ergonomics
by Beverly May D. Ramos & Jennifer M. Suarez
Due to the pandemic, working from home and attending online classes are now a part of our new normal. Since most of us are new to this set up, here are some ergonomic tips that can help us work efficiently and safely in the comforts of our home.
The first step is to set up a workspace that is not only comfortable but is also safe. For instance, using your couch or bed might seem comfortable at first but working there for a significant amount of time will most likely strain your neck and back and cause posture problems, and let’s not forget the temptation to doze off throughout the day when you’re too comfortable.
A good working space should have an appropriate height where the keyboard is at elbow height, your hips are at the same level of your knees, and your feet lay flat on the floor. Your monitor should be at a height such that when you look at the middle of the screen, your eyes should look slightly downward. Your monitor should at least be an arm’s length away so you can see your whole monitor with minimal neck movement.
It would also be helpful to have an office chair to help maintain a natural spine curve. But if this is not possible, you may use any chair and use a towel or pillow to support your lower back.
It would also help to have a natural light source in your workspace. However, make sure that your monitor is not directly hit by any harsh light to avoid eye strain. A good practice is to have your monitor parallel to your light source.
Another tip to avoid eye strain is to practice the 20/20/20 rule, where you take a 20 second break by looking at an object approximately 20 feet away for every 20 minutes that you are looking at the monitor.
And finally, no matter how busy you get, don’t forget to take breaks, eat your meals on time and stay hydrated. Drink water!
Images used are by Beverly May D. Ramos