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Workstation Ergonomics - Working at Home during Isolation

What is ergonomics?


Ergonomics is the study of designing an environment fit for the worker so the work is safer and more efficient. By implementing ergonomic solutions in the workplace, employees will be more comfortable and therefore more productive.


Incorrect ergonomics can lead to physical injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, stress, work inefficiency, unhealthy weight gain, poor posture, and in extreme situations, diseases such as diabetes. Thus, ergonomics is extremely important in long-term health if one is spending copious amounts of time in the workplace environment.


Tips for Improving the Ergonomics in your Workstation


Do you ever feel sore after a day in the office? Or at your desk? Is there a lot of tension in your neck? Well, follow this guide, and you will be good to go! Here are some tips that can be used in all workplaces, including the one at home.


Setting up your Workstation


Before sitting at your workstation all day, make sure to set it up correctly. 

  • Rule #1: Ensure that both feet can be placed flat on the ground at preferably shoulder’s width.

  • Rule #2: The screen should be arm’s length apart from you. To do this, stretch out your arms and ensure that only your fingertips reach the monitor.

  • Rule #3: The top of screen should reach eye level.

  • Rule #4: Ensure that your armrest is at ~90-100 degrees to avoid overextension.

  • Rule #5: Sit upright, not too slouched, not too slumped.

Tip: To maintain a neutral and relaxed position of the wrist to avoid soreness, stiffness, and tension, consider investing in a wrist pad.


Stretching


After/during breaks between your work, make sure to stretch your neck! As your neck is often in the same position while you are staring at the screen, you will find there to be a lot of tension. 


Stretch your piriformis muscle and hip flexors - as this is a muscle located deep in your gluteus maximus, you are sitting on it for a prolonged period of time. This can result in tightness, so here is a stretch to loosen up the muscle.

  1. Lay on the floor with your knees bent and pointed towards the ceiling,

  2. Bring one foot up to rest on the opposite thigh, with the knee pointing outwards.

  3. Grasp the underside of opposite thigh near the knee and draw it close to your body.

  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

  5. Repeat with the other leg.

  6. Cycle through both legs three times.

This image is courtesy of Sports Injury Clinic.


Loosen your shoulders! Again, because we are sitting at our desk, our shoulder can be placed under improper stress if we sit with incorrect mechanics.

  1. Lower your chin to face your armpit.

  2. Push your head down slowly and gently with your hand.

  3. Remember to relax the opposite shoulder.

  4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

  5. Switch to the other shoulder.

Stretch the muscles in your wrist! Often, with school or work, we type for hours and hours, overusing the muscles in our wrist.

  1. Place one arm fully extended in front of you with your palms turning away.

  2. Use the other hand to gently push down on the arm that is fully extended .

  3. Hold for 30 seconds.

  4. Repeat these steps with the opposite arm.


By implementing these rules and exercising these stretches multiple times per day, you can advance the ergonomics in your workplace (at home or at your formal office) and improve your overall health and productivity.


References and Resources

Asher, A. (2020, May 24). Simple Steps to Improve Your Upright Sitting Posture. Retrieved July

18, 2020, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-sit-with-good-posture-296781

Healthwise Staff. (2019, June 26). Ergonomic Workstation. Retrieved July 18, 2020, from

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=zm2298

Stretching exercises for the wrists. (n.d.). Retrieved July 18, 2020, from

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/zm2666

Tran, S. (2019, November 21). 6 Exercises for Desk-related Shoulder & Neck Pain. Retrieved July

18, 2020, from http://www.alliancewellness.ca/6-exercises-desk-related-shoulder-neck-pain/

Try these stretches to reduce stiffness at work. (2019, October 11). Retrieved July 18, 2020,

from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/multimedia/stretching/sls-

20076525?s=5


Featured image is courtesy of Wix.



Article Contributors: Michelle Xiao, Olivia Ye