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Coronavirus Information

How to make your study-at-home space ergonomic

August 11, 2020

While studying from home, it’s important to maintain proper ergonomic supports to stay comfortable and avoid back and neck pain. See below for general guidelines as well as common errors and solutions for studying and learning remotely.

General guidelines:

  • Use a supportive, upright chair with padding if possible.
    • For additional lumbar support, try using a rolled towel.
  • Raise laptop with books or other sturdy items.
    • This will maintain a better neck position throughout the day.
    • Place the screen/monitor approximately an arm’s length away from the user.
  • Consider using an external keyboard/mouse to maintain proper arm and wrist positioning.
    • Ideally, elbows remain at 90 degrees with relaxed shoulders and limited wrist flexion/extension.
  • If using a standing workstation, wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
  • Incorporate frequent movement/stretch breaks throughout your day.
    • Micro breaks (10 – 20 seconds every 5 – 10 minutes) alter position and give postural muscles a break, rest hands from typing.
    • Mini breaks (2 – 5 minutes every 30 minutes) – perform specific exercises and/or work tasks that require standing/walking.
    • Organize group stretch/movement breaks over video chat or other method.

Please see below for common errors and easy fixes for your work-from-home set-up:

Common Errors Solutions
Man with bad posture

Frequent and/or sustained awkward sitting postures (leaning forward, slouching, head forward/chin out, legs crossed, resting feet on chair casters).

Man with good posture

Sit all the way back in your chair and use the back rest to keep a straight spine. Maintain ears over shoulders, chin slightly tucked in when sitting or standing

Man with bad posture

Keyboard and mouse are positioned too far away from the body.

Man with good posture

Place mouse and keyboard closer so that elbows are by your side.

Man with bad posture

Resting wrists on desk.

Man with good posture

Place armrests level with the keyboard or slightly above and use armrests for support rather than the desk. If this is not possible, use a soft gel wrist rest.