Ergonomics key to home office comfort

Poor posture, misplaced monitor can lead to aches and pains

SAN ANTONIO – After nearly seven months of working from dining room tables and being slouched on couches, the home setup is taking its toll on backs, eyes and energy.

And, as we settle in for an even longer haul, experts say applying a few basic principles of ergonomics to any workspace can minimize strain on the body.

“As people feel like they need to be in front of their screen to be accountable for work, people are sitting longer hours,” said Todd Baker, with Empowerment Ergonomics. “It’s important that your body is in good alignment so that you have the most energy and attention for the work you’re trying to do.”

Experts offer some advice:

  • Start with your chair. If your lower back doesn’t reach the back of your chair comfortably, put a pillow behind you.
  • If your feet don’t reach the floor, use a footrest.
  • Make sure the bend of your arms is between 90 and 115 degrees when sitting at the desk or computer.
  • Your eyes should be your arm’s-length away from the screen and at eye level.

“Some people prefer to add a second monitor, both for comfort and efficiency,” said Rachel Peachman, of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports recommends the Dell Ultrasharp 24-inch and the BenQ 23.8-inch display.

A standing or convertible desk can be a helpful solution because it allows more movement.

“It is more important than ever to find ways to change positions, to take breaks, visual, physical and cognitive breaks to change positions and stay healthy," Baker said.

Hours in front of a screen can lead to eye strain. Experts suggest the 20-20-20 rule, which means every 20 minutes you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

RELATED: Tips for working from home during coronavirus pandemic

About the Author: