Man working from home with child

How to Comfortably Work from Home

by Jo-Anne Audette-Arruda, on April 20, 2020
For most of us, having dedicated space for working at home before the COVID-19 pandemic was not necessary. For those who may have a home office, you probably didn’t anticipate having to share it with a spouse, significant other, or even your kids! Below are a few general suggestions and quick references for creating the most comfortable and healthy work environment. If you have time and want additional information, PMA Companies created a white paper for download entitled “Ergonomic Considerations in Setting up a Home Office Workspace.” 

Neutral Body Posture
We all know sitting for 8 hours is not healthy, but sitting or standing properly can help minimize strain on your body. Neutral body posture is the goal (see below)! When achieved, your body’s muscular skeletal design provides maximum support to each body part resulting in greater comfort and less stress on the body. 
Chair Selection
The best option is an actual desk chair that adjusts in height, lumbar support, arm height, and seat pan. Of course, that might be a tall order, especially if you’re sharing a home office! You can also use a kitchen or a dining room chair, but make sure your feet can reach the floor to support your legs. If needed, get a footrest or something sturdy to support your feet. This will alleviate the pressure on the back of your legs, thighs, and ultimately reduce your low back strain! Remember -- low back support is necessary; without it, you will most likely develop tired and or sore back muscles! That couch may look comfortable; however, working on a sofa or recliner typically results in poor body posture.

Work Surface
Whether you are using a desk, dining room table, folding table, or TV tray - try to avoid resting wrists and forearms on sharp edges. This action creates contact stress, and it is unhealthy for you. If you find yourself doing this, remember to readjust your arms and wrists every so often to try and retrain how you hold your arms.

Change Body Positions
It is important to adjust your lumbar support, decline your seat pan, and change the chair height through the day. If your chair is not adjustable, you can switch to a different chair in your home. By making small changes through the day, you will engage different muscles. To prevent yourself from staying in the same position for hours on end, make sure to take breaks and do a variety of tasks.

Headset and Headphones
Using wireless headphones or earbuds during the day will allow for standing or walking during calls or meetings. It’s just as important to get up and move around at home as it is at work!       
Finally, if you are unable to achieve a comfortable working position in your new work environment, please reach out to the LandrumHR Risk Management team.  

We can assess your work station remotely to help you achieve a more comfortable work arrangement!    
Jo-Anne Audette-Arruda

Jo-Anne is the Director of Risk Management for LandrumHR and is responsible for leading a team of safety and workers’ compensation professionals and providing workers’ compensation claims management, OSHA reporting / record keeping, OSHA and state compliance assistance services, training, safety inspections/audits, ergonomic assessments, and accident investigation & analysis services to LandrumHR clients.

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