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Ergonomics at Home or the Office

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

Sitting too close to your computer/laptop screen can be harmful to your health.

A lot of us are working from home this year, and we may not have the ideal ergonomic setup we had at our workplaces.

For those of us who sit in front of a screen for a good portion of the day, here are some helpful tips to remember as we go about our days.

1. The screen/monitor should be at least an arm's length away.

2. The lighting in your home or office should not cause glare on your computer screen. If you are situated by a window, make sure the window is to your left or your right and that you are not sitting right behind it or directly in front of it. It is not good to have a window right behind the screen or right behind you either. Overhead lighting is hard on the eyes as well.

3. If you are doing data entry, make sure that the position of what you are transcribing is the same height as your computer monitor and is the same distance from you as your computer monitor. This reduces neck strain and other unpleasant and unnecessary aches and pains.

4. Sit with your back straight so that your spine remains erect with your arms out in front of you on the keyboard, fingers placed in the correct positions. (Do not hunch your shoulders. Instead relax them.)

5. Keep your feet placed flat on the ground. If they cannot be placed flat on the ground, get something to prop your feet on that isn't very high. This will help reduce back strain. (This goes hand-in-hand with #4.)

According to Web MD, "If you spend many hours a day at your desk or workstation, give some thought to the setup. A poorly positioned chair can cause you to slouch forward, straining the back and neck. A monitor that's too low or too high will also strain the neck.

6. This may sound strange, but you need to remember to blink. You may think that you already blink often enough, but people who work in front of computer screens for a prolonged period of time tend to blink less often than those who don't.

This severely irritates the eyes, causing chronic dry eye issues that are sometimes long lasting. I speak from experience. If you feel like you may not be blinking enough while you're working, write a reminder to blink on a note and stick it somewhere that you are sure to see it while you're working.

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