As the number of employees working from home increases, so does the risk for pain and discomfort due to poor workstation setup. Many of us do not have the same workstation setup at home that we have in our typical offices. A computer workstation at home may surround a laptop computer on a couch, bed, or kitchen table. As comfortable as these options may sound, using an improper workstation set up for an extended duration can cause awkward posture which can increase the risk for ergonomic-related injuries (or musculoskeletal disorders such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome). It is important to set up your workstation as best you can to prevent injury regardless of where you might work.
As you attempt to set up your workstation at home, keep in mind that the Risk Management & Insurance Ergonomics Team is here to help and can provide remote/virtual evaluations. Our ergonomics specialists will work to identify and eliminate the causes of discomfort and help you set up your workstation, without ever having to set foot in your home.
Quick Work from Home Ergonomic Tips
If you are working from home for extended periods, it is recommended that you invest in quality ergonomics equipment including but not limited to a height-adjustable table or keyboard tray, and ergonomic chair. For the short term, you can make simple changes to your workstation using things you already have in your home. Some tips are as follows:
- Use a good chair (if possible). If you don’t have a good chair, add pillows for back/leg support.
- Raise your chair (most kitchen tables and desks are too high). Use a pillow as a seat cushion if needed.
- Support your feet on a phone book, step stool, etc., if they do not firmly touch the ground while sitting.
- Raise your monitor using books, old shoe boxes, etc.
- Use an external keyboard and mouse. It is essential that the monitor is separated from the keyboard/mouse. The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level, shoulders relaxed with the elbows around 90 degrees.
Keep in mind that there is more to ergonomics than just the computer workstation. Environment, lighting, noise, etc. should be accounted for as well. See the below resources for additional information.
Contact the ergonomics manager with questions and look out for training and other information on our website, CSU listserves and CSU SOURCE.
Working from Home Ergonomics Equipment Guidelines
Laptop, Tablet, Smartphone Ergonomics Website
Humantech – Ergonomics for the Home Office – Info Sheet
Humantech – Don’t Work From The Couch Tips to Improve Home Office
Contact CSU’s Ergonomics Manager
for additional information or with any questions