Many Americans have found themselves working and learning from home full time. Some families have experienced a quick return to school and the office, while others are coming to terms with their reality of long-term distance learning and remote working.

 

Are you realizing your home workspace setups could use an upgrade? Consider these ergonomic solutions to make your everyday remote office — and distance classroom — more comfortable and productive. For more information including Occupational Therapy in the era of COVID-19, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association. See this document on guidelines for learning from home from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

 

Create a Workspace

Designate a permanent desk area and consider an adjustable or standing desk for you and your kids. These types desks will encourage more movement and prevent sitting all day. Also, adjustable kids’ furniture allows it to grow with them — giving you the most bang for your buck. Tweak the height of your work surface so your keyboard sits just below the seated (or standing) height of your elbows. Use an external keyboard and mouse for a more comfortable and customizable fit. Occupational Therapist, Board-Certified Ergonomist, and Clinical Professor at Boston University Karen Jacobs says, “Work in comfort, change and vary your postures often.” For more tips from Jacobs on setting up your space, watch this video.

At Home Hack: No room for a desk? Use a lap desk or portable laptop stand to work anywhere more comfortably.

 

Always be at Eye Level

Use a monitor riser or an adjustable laptop stand to get your most-used screed directly in front of you and just below eye level. Your screen should be within arm’s reach for the best view. These small adjustments can help prevent slouching, craning and squinting, lessening eye and muscle strain. Check out this infographic mousepad on workstation ergonomics for more ideas. Lighting also plays a big part in working and learning from home. Position your desk 90 degrees from a window to minimize glare and utilize task lights to make reading easier.

At Home Hack: You can make this work with objects you have laying around. Use a book or ream of paper to prop up your monitor or laptop, achieving the same effect.

 

Support your Back

Upgrade your office or learning center by purchasing a chair with lower lumbar support designed for all day sitting. Bonus: Look for a chair with adjustable height, making achieving eye level with your work even easier. If your kid’s feet (or yours) don’t reach the ground when sitting in the chair, use a yoga block or box as a footrest. Read this article for more chair selection tips.

At Home Hack:  New chair not in the budget? Make what you have work by placing a chair lumbar pillow, a throw pillow, or even a rolled-up towel behind your lower back and the chair.

 

Take Breaks

Set aside time in your day to move, stretch, exercise and give your eyes a break from the screen. Your body, and your eyes, will thank you. Also consider adding in a recess break to a remote learning routine. Make it a habit for you or your loved ones by downloading this free timer that automatically reminds you that it’s time to move.

At Home Hack: Unable to commit to scheduled breaks? Make walking during phone calls a habit. Let this small activity serve as a reminder to move a little.