These days, back pain is a universal problem that unites generations and nationalities. Days of quarantine, working from home, and remote learning have taken their toll on our backs quite literally. Have you ever bent down to pick a pen and felt the years behind you? You are not alone.
But these pains do not necessarily mean that you are growing old faster than you think. Sometimes it only means that you do not have the right stuff in your workstation. When your back starts hurting, no need to go looking for the fountain of youth. All you need is the right equipment and a more ergonomic working area.
What is ergonomics, and what is an ergonomic workstation?
We often hear people talk about something being ergonomic, but what does it actually mean? How would something ergonomic look like? Simply put, ergonomics is the science of understanding how you work and interact with your environment and designing it for your efficiency. In other words, you change the work for the user’s comfort instead of making the user adjust to the work.
Ergonomic workstations drew interest at the pandemic’s peak, but it is not a new concept. As early as the 1900s, people have already been studying the “good fit” between people and the tools they use. In the present context, that means your workstation must suitably fit your needs, even if the work means doing less and repeating the movements.
What do I need for my ergonomic home office?
The equipment you need would depend on the nature of your work. To know what items to get, these are the areas that you should check:
Your hand and wrist
When on the keyboard, your wrist must be in a neutral position. That means they are straight and not flexing upwards or downwards. To put your wrists in a neutral position, align your thumb with your forearm and bend them slightly back. When typing, keep your arms close to your body. Your hands must also be leveled below your elbows.
To maintain an ergonomic position for your hand and keep your wrists straight, you may want to invest in these items for your ergonomic workspace.
A wrist rest helps keep your hands in a neutral position. It also provides support for your arms, which means it allows your arm muscles to relax.
Beyond the obvious fact that ergonomic keyboards are more comfortable to use, they also ease the strain on your delicate fingers and prevent them from cramping.
If you are using an external keyboard, a keyboard tray will help you adjust it to a position that feels more comfortable for you.
If you are using a laptop, you may also want to invest in a laptop stand that you can adjust, so the computer screen and keyboard are at a comfortable angle.
Your head and neck
Make sure your head is positioned vertically to your neck for the least strain. Make sure the screen is not too low. The ideal is to set your external monitor an arm’s length away from you and to tilt it so that the computer screen is within or below eye level and the glare is downward.
To help keep your head and neck in a neutral position, you may consider getting the following items.
An adjustable monitor will easily help you configure the height of your screen to your comfort. As an alternative, you may also stack books under the monitor to give it a boost.
Change up your routine and try standing desks instead of standing all day. A correctly adjusted standing desk can help reduce the strain on your head and neck. Make sure the desk height is leveled to your elbow. When looking for standing desks, go for ones with an adjustable height. If you are not sure about a height-adjustable desk, you can try standing for 15 minutes using your kitchen table, a high counter, or any surface with the appropriate height.
Your back and posture
Growing up, you may have seen one of those books talking about proper posture illustrating a person sitting stiffly at a 90-degree angle. But does it actually help your posture? Recent studies have debunked this myth and suggested that it is better to recline as if you are driving a car than to sit up straight.
An ergonomic chair will help keep your shoulders in a comfortable position. Some office chairs also come with an adjustable lumbar support and additional support for your neck. If you do not want to invest in a new office chair just yet, you can use your current chair and give it an ergonomic touch.
Even if you are just using a kitchen chair, a soft cushion and a rolled-up towel would be enough to provide lumbar support. Remember that your goal is to create a comfortable chair without sacrificing good posture.
Your routines and breaks
Like your equipment and work environment, how you work is also important in creating an ergonomic workspace. Though your workstation is optimized for your work, it does not mean that you can spend your entire day sitting or standing. Like work, your breaks should also be scheduled.
Long-term exposure to computer screens can negatively affect your eyes. To avoid eye strain, set a timer every 15 minutes to take a break from the screen. Take a minute or two to look at other sceneries that are preferably at least 20 feet away so your eye muscles can relax. Also, take a few seconds to blink rapidly to clear dust from your eyes’ surfaces.
Chat and Coffee Breaks
While working in bursts may feel productive, you may end up feeling more exhausted. To avoid this, take a break every hour or half of an hour. This is your time to chat with your workmate, get a coffee, or walk around the office. If you are working from home, this time could be used to prepare a simple snack, brew a coffee, or walk around the house.
While we continue to fight bigger health threats, we must also remember to keep our bodies healthy even in these little ways. Come home to a place that takes care of you and your family. Check out Camella’s healthy home offerings and other house and lot for sale in the Philippines from your trusted home builder. For your home options, you make check our house catalog or take a virtual tour of our community.