I've been working from my home office for many years, but usually I am out to employers and clients at least 3 days/ week. Now that I'll be working from home entirely for the next while, it's time to take my own ergonomic consulting advice. Here are some tips for considerations if you are working from home too.
1. Maintaining a work : life balance. Managing work, time & task requirements for productivity and separating work from your non-work life is important. A few things that help me stay focused and shift my mind are:
2. Boundaries for family members or even pets may be required to avoid procrastination, remain productive and maintain healthy relationships. The important people in your life need to know when you are available for them, and when you are not. If you have younger children who need your regular attention, you will need to have an appropriate replacement available so you can get through your day with some sanity and productivity, and still love yourself and your family at the end of it! This may be a challenge but creating a plan that will work for everyone is important. Ensuring everyone also understands your boundaries is critical to having healthy relationships.
3. Create an organized work environment. Your home work environment may not have the same amount of space, a suitable desk, supplies and other work items you are accustomed to.
4. Check your ergonomic set up to maintain good posture. Your set up should support you to sit with good posture. If the screen is too low or too far, you'll end up dropping your head, rounding your shoulders and leaning forward with no support to your back. if you can't match your chair height for relaxed shoulders and arms to use the keyboard, you will end up shrugging or sitting back and reaching forward all day, and you may experience contact stress and bruising on your arms from rubbing on the edge of the desk all day. For a full overview of your computer set up, check out this quick self-assessment video.
Even if you have an 'ergonomic task chair', your posture is something you need to pay attention to. Think about how you hold your body when you are sitting. Do you sink into the chair with a slumped low back and forward head?
5. Take a movement break! Our bodies are meant to move, and most of us have become overly sedentary. For your health and metabolism, get up to move your body at least once / hour. If you need help, here's a 10 day movement challenge you can try.
Mindy Gulas, R.Kin, Ergonomic Consultant, CSEP-CEP