Ergonomics at Your Home Office: Is Your Computer Set-up Protecting Your Health?

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Is your home workstation protecting your health? Be aware of the factors to be considered for your home workstation to avoid repetitive injuries such as body pains and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Computing at home is an everyday activity for adults and kids may it be work related or for personal use. But the reality and study shows that computer over-use can harm one’s health. A habit of good posture, proper positioning of keyboard, monitor, and mouse can reduce risk of body pains such as back pain, neck stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and eye strain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive strain injury that affects the hands and wrist. Symptoms are numbness and loss of strength or coordination of the hands.

According to Human Factors and Ergonomics Society report, kids are also at risk in acquiring body pains and repetitive strain injuries if they are using same workstation with adults. Parents should be aware of their kids needs, and they should be provided with the right chair and proper adjustment of the monitor to fit their height.

Physical Ergonomics is the science of designing the job, equipment, and workplace to fit the worker. Main focus of ergonomics is for the worker’s health and productivity. It is achieved through proper furniture used as ergonomic chairs and keyboards with its proper height and shape. The right position of the body and hands makes one comfortable and helps in the speed and productivity.

image via wiki educator

Factors to be considered for your home workstation :

Height of the chair.

When sitting, the main part of the body weight is transferred to the seat. Some weight is also transferred to the floor, back rest, and armrests. Where the weight is transferred is the key to a good seat design. When the proper areas are not supported, sitting in a seat all day can put unwanted pressure on the back causing pain.

The lumbar (bottom five vertebrate in the lower spine) needs to be supported to decrease disc pressure. Providing both a seat back that inclines backwards, and has a lumbar support is critical to prevent excessive low back pressures.

image via wikipedia

Height of the keyboard. Make sure the hands are properly positioned at the keyboard. Manufacturers nowadays introduces ergonomic keyboard products to reduce wrists strain.

Keyboard and Typing Tips :

• Keyboard should be placed slightly lower than normal desk height to avoid strain in the forearm.

• If the keyboard is too large for your hands and fingers, try to reach the outlying keys by lifting your hand and arm from the shoulder rather than twisting your wrists or straining to reach those keys with your fingers.

• When typing, avoid resting your wrists on the edge of the work surface. Doing so can put additional pressure on those same tendons and nerves.

• Elbows should be in a 90-degree angle while hanging at the sides from the shoulders which should remain relaxed in a lowered position while typing.

• Use a padded wrist rest to reduce strain of the wrists. This will give support and to avoid the wrist hanging.

• When typing, keep hands relaxed,type gently, and do not pound the keys.

• Make it a habit to have frequent breaks to give your body a rest.

• If your hands and forearms hurt with your current keyboard, replace it at once preferably with an ergonomic keyboard.

Position and protection from the monitor. Proper position of the monitor is necessary so that you do not have to lean forward. Buy protective anti-glare shield to protect your eyes .

Right amount of lighting inside the office. Proper lighting will help not only to protect your eyes, but also helps to be more productive. Adjustable blinds are advisable to easily control the lighting inside the room.

Keep the workstation clean. Being part of creating a healthy workstation is to keep it clean. Avoid eating in front of the table or computer especially cookies, bread, or other food with small particles which is hardly to clean when inserted inside the keyboard. Also avoid putting a drink near the equipment. Lastly, do not leave any food wrappers or unfinished food on top of the desk. Clean as you go.

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