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Two-plus years working from the couch and kitchen table had my back and wrists all cranky, to say the least. I recently set up a permanent workstation, taking into account some best ergonomic practices. As a result of my mostly minor modifications, I’m happy to report that almost immediately my back and wrists responded graciously. Here are some ideas for your office:
1. Keep your head aligned over shoulders; don’t stretch your neck forward.
2. Your eyeballs should be looking straight ahead, not up or down. To achieve this, the top of your monitor needs to be no higher than eye level. You might need a riser to help lift your laptop or monitor to a good, eyeballs-dead-center position. A chair with adjustable height may help here as well.
3. Sit as far away from the screen as is comfortably possible.
4. Shoulders should be relaxed and comfortable, not raised or hunched forward.
5. Keyboard should be at seated elbow height. This really helps with keeping shoulders relaxed and lowered and is the one thing that can make or break many backs. (Laptop users: Consider installing a real keyboard at your workstation.)
6. Elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. Again, a keyboard tray can work wonders here.
7. Typing wrists should be straight, parallel to the floor. Support nontyping wrists with a wristrest or armrests. (Laptop users: Consider installing a real mouse at your workstation.)
8. Support the curve in your lower back. Either your chair must have some sort of lumbar support or a pillow or backrest achieves this.
9. Feet flat on the floor or footrest.
10. Take breaks. Move. Really. It helps. A lot.
Good luck and happy, ache-free computing to you.
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