6 Ways to Make Your WFH Environment Better for Your Body

If your bedroom, kitchen, or a designated corner of your living space has been your office for the past year—and may be your workspace for the foreseeable future—it’s possible your body is feeling the effects.

Discomfort from poor alignment, static positions, or contact stresses is avoidable. It is as easy as understanding proper techniques and can largely be resolved by self-corrective actions.

So let’s get started…

01

Align your body

  • When sitting up straight, relax your shoulders and keep your elbows at level with the keyboard
  • If needed, raise the chair’s height to achieve this, but then add a footrest
  • The top of the monitor should be about level with eyebrows, unless you wear glasses
  • If you wear glasses and view the laptop screen from the bottom of the lenses, consider adding a riser to raise the laptop screen to eyebrow level
    • Then add an external full-sized keyboard and mouse
  • If you don’t have access to a riser or you’re a desktop user, raise your screen with books or boxes (just make sure they’re balanced and your screen isn’t going to be wobbling all over the place!)
  • Higher screens will help keep your spine aligned and prevent related pains

02

Pay attention to your arms

  • When you’re typing on your keyboard, your arms should be at your sides and elbows bent to 90 degrees
  • If your chair has armrests, adjust them to allow for relaxed shoulders
  • Only use the armrests and wrist rests when you are taking a break
  • If the arms of your chair are not adjustable and not properly supportive, consider removing them

03

Support your lower back

  • Make sure your buttocks are pressed firmly against the back of your chair
  • Use a small cushion or a rolled-up towel and keep it pressed against your lower back
    • This should allow your lower back to arch back slightly and not slump forward

04

Take vision breaks

  • Staring at a screen for hours isn’t good no matter where you work, so make it a point every 15 to 20 minutes to focus on a distant object in the room for a few seconds before bringing your gaze back to the monitor

05

Move around and stretch

  • Get in the routine of standing up and stepping away from your computer every 20 to 30 minutes
  • Shake/stretch it out for a minute or two
  • Practicing compensatory stretching can help too
    • This is achieved by stretching tight muscle groups, such as your chest, back, wrists, shoulders, hips, and legs
  • Keep circulation normalized while sitting by doing seated heel raises (30 second video instructions here)
  • Change positions frequently
  • One way to ensure you change positions is to attach positional changes to a task
    • For instance, every time you hit send on an email, stand up and then sit back down
  • Always take meals away from your workstation
  • If you’re on a non-video conference call and do not need to be at the computer, consider a brief walk around the house or the yard

06

Invest in equipment

  • If your chair and desk are contributing to your discomfort, you can find some ergonomically friendly equipment options at a lower cost
  • Many times, that investment can be less than $30 for items that would further improve the ergonomics of a workstation—but quality chairs can be expensive: between $750 and $1,800
  • If you’re is planning to invest in one, go to an office supply store and try out the chairs on display to help guide your decision
    • Or visit an ergonomist to be measured for a chair that will help ensure a proper fit
  • Review websites are everywhere on the web—be sure to read the opinions of others with a grain of salt, and always go for the most reputable sources
    • (This author recommends the NYT’s Wirecutter, though articles may be behind a paywall)
  • Always be sure to shop intelligently!

This article was brought to you by the Proactive Health Management Plan in partnership with Healthline.

611 Comments
  • David Alan Jones
    Posted at 08:28h, 13 June

    Great article!

  • Darla Arnold Lay
    Posted at 17:39h, 09 June

    Thanks

  • Janine Goldie
    Posted at 15:26h, 09 June

    This a very informative article.

  • Javier Z
    Posted at 22:43h, 08 June

    Thanks

  • Donna Millman
    Posted at 21:26h, 07 June

    Interesting information

  • Sheryl Knibbe
    Posted at 18:06h, 07 June

    Good info!

  • Freddie Quintana
    Posted at 17:32h, 07 June

    Great info

  • Michelle Goldsmith
    Posted at 15:01h, 07 June

    Thank you for the information

  • Crystal Martin Evans
    Posted at 20:01h, 06 June

    Thank you for the article.

  • Mary Burg
    Posted at 15:50h, 06 June

    Very helpful

  • DEBRA Allen
    Posted at 13:18h, 06 June

    Thanks

1 23 24 25