It won’t be long before remote workers staff one-quarter of all jobs in North America. Workers love the flexibility, and employers often see benefits like reduced overhead and productivity increases. If there’s a dark side to the work-from-home trend, it may be the lack of attention to workplace ergonomics.
Despite their name, laptops aren’t well-suited for laps, and while dining tables serve well for meals and game nights, they aren’t your best choice for eight hours of number crunching. Workers using such makeshift workspaces may find their necks becoming stiff and sore.
The specialists at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center recommend that you consider how your home workstations affect your posture. It doesn’t mean you need to purchase expensive office equipment, but you must address some basics, or your body will suffer. To avoid work becoming a pain in the neck, compare your home setup against these requirements.
1. Go hunch-free
If there’s one posture to avoid above all others, it’s the curved-back hunch. It may be the position you slump into after hours and on weekends, but committing 40 hours a week to this posture leads to more than just neck strain. Your shoulders and back will also pay the price. Sit straight with your chin up, looking forward. If the address bar on your computer screen is lower than eye level, you need to make some adjustments.
2. Choose your chair
If you splurge on one item of office furniture, let it be a quality adjustable chair. A good chair with lumbar support and height adjustments is your best partner for relieving forward-curve posture and neck pain. Raise or lower your seat to achieve proper eye level while maintaining a 90-degree bend at your hips. You may still need other adjustments for optimal ergonomics, but a balanced sitting position is a foundation upon which other posture refinements depend.
3. Your monitor situation
The ideal position for keyboarding is with your forearms parallel to the floor. Too low, and your wrists bend up. Too high, and your wrists droop. Yet, if your laptop fulfills the keyboard requirement, you’ll need to drop your chin to view the onboard monitor. When you must use a laptop for the bulk of your workday, adding a second monitor is a neck-friendly answer. An hour or two with the laptop’s screen won’t be a problem. Full days are another matter.
4. Feet down
If you’ve balanced these posture elements, but your feet aren’t resting flatly on the ground, add a footrest, or wear comfortable flat-soled shoes to make up the difference if the gap is small. Support from your feet takes some weight off your hips and spine, right up to your neck.
When you’re already dealing with neck pain, cervical radiculopathy, or pain due to herniated discs, call or click to schedule a consultation with Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. While you’re here, discuss your work-at-home challenges for additional advice. Your better work/life balance includes freedom from neck pain. Find out more today.