How to Make Your Home Work Space Ergonomically Sound
Updated: Feb 22
One day you’re complaining about your commute, the next day you’re all of a sudden working from a makeshift at home desk with your dining room chair as your “office chair”. Does that sound like you? We’ve all undergone some massive changes lately and one of the biggest is that almost no one is working from the office anymore. Now we’re all working from home and maybe you’re working from your dining room table, your home office, or even your bed.
We’ve heard from a lot of our clients that they’re having more back and neck pain since teleworking became more common. We’ve found a big reason is tat their new work station at home is putting more stress on their back and neck than their usual desk at work.
We wanted to put some quick tips together to make sure your desk or chair are not going to give you any neck or back pain. Here’s a checklist of how to set up your workstation at home. Start with sitting back in your chair when setting up your station and then move on to the next step. If you prefer a video guide, check that out below.
Where Should I Sit on the Chair?
You might think that you need to sit towards the front of the chair and sit up really tall to have “good posture”. Go ahead and try that now for 2 minutes, I’ll wait. Chances are, you got pretty tired and your mind started to wander so you lost your good posture. It’s impossible to sit with “good posture” for any length of time and think about work and type on your computer and everything else that you have to do. Our smart-ass answer always is, there’s a back of a chair for a reason, use it. Seriously, though, use the back of the chair. Sit your hips all the way to the back of the chair and then let your back rest against the chair. Doesn’t that feel easier? Using the back of a chair allows you to sit up taller while not working so hard at doing it. If your chair seat is too long that you can’t get all the way back, put a pillow behind your back to offer you that same support.
What Should the Chair Height Be?
Now that you are sitting to the back of the chair, this is the next step. You want the chair to be a height where your hips are slightly above your knees with your feet flat on the floor. If your home chair doesn’t change height, you might need to sit on a pillow to raise the chair. If the chair is too high and your feet don’t touch the ground, put a stack of books or a small step beneath your feet so they can rest on top of it.
Where Should Your Keyboard Be?
Now that you are sitting all the way back and your chair height is correct, it’s time for the final check. Once you’re sitting in your chair, let your arms drop to your side. Now, bend your elbows to 90 degrees (your hands should be at the same height as your elbow). Wherever your hands are, that’s where your keyboard should be. So, now you need to move your chair close enough that your hands can be typing on the keyboard with your arms in that position.
In case you'd like a video tutorial here's me walking you through every outlined in this post.
We realize that it’s sometimes not possible to get all these perfectly. That’s OK. Just get as close as you can to all three of them and you’ll probably be close enough.
Still not sure if your desk is set up properly?
We’d be happy to give you a free virtual consult on your desk set up. Text/Call us at 202-922-7331 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this blog and one of our physical therapy experts would be happy to give you a free consultation.