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How does your home office fit you?

With so many more of us working from home these days finding a comfortable place to work can be a challenge. Even if you have a full office space to work from at home you can still develop habits that can wreak havoc on your body. Below is a list of the 10 most common mistakes people make when working from home, and how to correct them.

Hunching over your laptop

It’s easy to work on your laptop for a few hours on the weekend, but doing so for 40-plus hours a week can lead to back, shoulder, and neck strain. If you can, use an external monitor or laptop stand (with an external keyboard and mouse) to prop up your screen. When looking at the screen, your eye line should be level with the address bar on your web browser.

Use an office chair if possible

The adjustable features available on most office chairs can go a long way in preventing neck and shoulder tension, and also takes the pressure off of the lumbar spine.

Work with what you have

If you don’t have the option of an office chair, there are some household items you can use to help you adjust. Putting a firm cushion or tightly folded towel under your buttocks will raise your hips and increase the curve of your spine, making sitting more comfortable.

Don’t dangle

Place your feet on a few books or boxes under your desk, so that your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor and your hips are slightly higher than your knees. This will reduce stress on your lumbar spine.

Make the height right

Whether seated or standing find a working height so that your elbows naturally fall flush with your table/desk height. This will promote better wrist alignment rather than impingement or carpal tunnel stress.

Comfy isn’t always better

As tempting as it is, the couch or your bed is not an optimal place to work at your computer for the entire day. Although it may be comfortable, having your legs or full body in a vertical position can lead to muscle numbness and discomfort. Also, working from spaces that you normally use to rest and relax can make it difficult to unwind at the end of the day.

Remember the 20-20-20 rule

For every 20 minutes spent looking at a computer screen, you should spend 20 seconds looking at something else 20 feet away. This gives your eye muscles a break and helps reduce eye strain.

Make your own space

Try to set up a workstation that you can make entirely your own. Sharing a workstation means you need to adjust your computer height, chair, and furniture every time you sit down. Often, you may choose to skip adjusting the workstation altogether. If you are the only person using the space, customizing will reduce the time and discomfort of sitting at a station that does not fit you.

Take care of yourself

It’s easy to snack throughout the day instead of eating as you did in the office. Making a meal and staying hydrated gives you the opportunity to stand up, walk around, and let your eyes have a rest from the computer screen.

Get up and move

This goes hand in hand with the last one, your goal is to get in as many steps as possible during the day, even if you are at home instead of at the office.

These tips are a good starting point for creating the optimal home work space. Remember that no matter where you are working from, listen to your body. Frequent stretch breaks and having a consistent shut down time keeps you healthy, and fosters a better work-life balance. If you are feeling out of balance contact us, we offer a number of ways to help you get back to your best self. Let us help you find your best life.

Yours in Good Health,

The Team at Essential Mind and Body

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