Ergonomics While Working at Home

If you are working at home on a more full time basis it’s very different from doing it for a short while.  Having the right setup will keep you productive and more comfortable.  It can even help lower stress.   Do a quick review of your work-at-home setup and get it as ergonomically correct as possible.  

When seated, your elbows and knees should be close to a 90-degree angle. This is the best position to try to be in while working.  Sometimes a footrest (books, box, stool) can be used so you can keep contact with the floor and stay back in your chair hopefully giving you lumbar support. If your legs are opened up a little beyond 90 degrees that’s ok- as long as your feet reaches the floor or foot rest.  If your chair is a newer office chair and is height adjustable it can make it easier to get in the right position.

Use an external keyboard, mouse or monitor if working with a laptop.  Laptops are convenient, but they can get uncomfortable if used full time, every day.  With the laptop screen and keyboard attached it means that if the keyboard is in an optimal place for typing, your monitor is not and you have to bend your neck to look down.  Optimal keyboard and mouse height is at “resting elbow height”. If you're using a laptop, add either an external keyboard, so the laptop can be raised to a comfortable monitor height, or an external monitor, so you can put the laptop at a more comfortable height for using the keyboard.

Set the monitor so you look straight ahead at it (not down or sideways).  The monitor should be set at a height so you can look at with your neck straight. Usually having the top of the screen(s) at eye level is ideal. You may need to raise your monitor(s). If you don’t have adjustable height monitors or stands, a stack of books can be used. Also try to have the keyboard, mouse and monitor(s) squared up in front of you. So your entire body (head, hands, torso and feet) is pointed in the same direction – avoid twisting or reaching.  Everything you routinely use should be in the Primary Zone - within 17 inches (or within easy reach of your hands), such as keyboard and mouse. Infrequently used items should be in the Secondary zone- 17 to 25 inches – such as phone or other items. This equipment placement can vary depending on how you work.  Also use speakers, headphones or earbuds for phone and computer calls.

Move around.   One more tip is to not sit for long uninterrupted periods.  Get up and move around every 30 minutes. Stretch and get the blood moving. Do not get locked into any one position for too long.

For a Hand Out of “Working At Home Ergonomics” with diagrams and pictures, contact us or email  “