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4 Ergonomic Errors to Avoid When We Work From Home

<p><em>Teleworking has been increasing for years now in Quebec and even in a more significant way during the pandemic&#39;s actual context. Needless to say, this situation has many advantages, such as better schedule flexibility. What would be better than having the leisure to enjoy snowy mornings to ski and work later in the evening?&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>However, teleworking also brings its own set of challenges like the adjustment of the workstation and the day&#39;s organization. Many workers thought that this situation would be temporary and have adopted bad habits.</em></p> <p><em>Here are 4 errors to avoid when you work from home if you want to improve your comfort and productivity.</em></p> <h3><strong>1- Work directly from a laptop</strong></h3> <p>The laptop computer is handy when frequent travels are required, but not very useful when we need to adjust our workstation since the screen is fixed to the keyboard. The laptop screen is too low, and you work with your head down. In addition, the screen is too close to the eyes in order to access the keyboard. The most suitable option is to equip yourself with external devices such as an independent mouse and keyboard. The laptop could then be placed slightly farther, at a distance of 60 to 80 centimetres (approximately the length of one arm). You can also set a pile of books (or a laptop support) under the computer to ensure that the screen&rsquo;s top is at the same height as the eyes.</p> <h3><strong>2- Work at the kitchen island</strong></h3> <p>The kitchen island can seem to be the perfect place where to work, but it is not suitable for long work hours. Indeed, it often grants the workers a limited space, and it may not be easy to focus there since it is a common area of the house. Kitchen chairs or stools often do not provide enough support since there are no armrests or footrests. Furthermore, the kitchen island surface is often too low or too high with the chair or stool to allow an ergonomic working position.</p> <p>Also, some people think it is proper to alternate between standing and sitting positions when they work at the kitchen island, often on their laptop; however, the kitchen island&#39;s height is too low to work standing in an ergonomic position. You will then work with a curved back and neck. When you stand, the height of the workstation should be at the level of your elbows to allow support for the upper limbs and a loosening of the muscles. A height-adjustable work surface can be very interesting for office workers.</p> <h3><strong>3- Ignore pain since it should&nbsp;disappear on its own</strong></h3> <p>It is essential to listen to our body and the signals it sends us. Therefore, we can feel some discomfort after being in a sitting position for a while; it is normal even if the workstation is well-adjusted. Our body tells us that it needs a break and wants to move and vary positions to help blood circulation and the oxygenation of the muscles. Nevertheless, you should never ignore pain. If working on a computer gives you increasing sufferings as the day or the week progresses, there is a problem. Sometimes, a banal adjustment of the workstation can often make all the difference and avoid the aggravation of pain or musculoskeletal problems.</p> <h3><strong>4- Eat directly at your desk to save time</strong></h3> <p>It is necessary to take small but frequent breaks to vary positions and limit muscular, ocular, and mental fatigue. It will allow you to be better focused and increase your daily productivity. Many actions can be implemented, like alternating computer tasks and more physically demanding jobs or standing up every 30 to 45 minutes to relieve the muscular contractures. Many optometrists also recommend the 20-20-20 rule to limit ocular fatigue: stop looking at your computer screen every 20 minutes and gaze at something 20 feet from you for 20 seconds (for example, a tree outside the window or the printer that is located on the other side of the room. For all those reasons, you should avoid taking your meals or breaks at your workstation. It will be beneficial to your physical and mental health.</p> <p>For tips and pieces of advice on how to adjust your computer workstation, feel free to <a href="" target="_blank">visit our website</a>. Although you can make modifications to optimize your office&#39;s ergonomy, it does not replace an ergotherapist or ergonomist intervention. Most insurance companies also cover Ergotherapy services. <a href="" target="_blank">Contact us</a> to access our ergotherapy or ergonomy services, in person or online.&nbsp;</p> <p>Joanie Poirier, Ergotherapist, M.Sc</p> <p><br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p>

Joanie Poirier, Ergotherapist