Safety works, wherever you do.

Many of us are working in new ways, from new places. And that brings new ways to get injured or stressed out at work, even if work is at home. That’s where good ergonomics and self-care come in. Proper setup, good stretching and breaks, awareness of hazards – the things that keep you working, injury-free, are more important than ever. Watch and read on for tips to make your workplace a healthy one, wherever it happens to be.

Use the tips below to set up a safe workspace,
even if it doubles as your kitchen table or laundry room.

  • Sit on a firm chair instead of on a couch. Use a chair that has arm rests and is adjustable for height. Make sure your thighs are parallel to the ground when sitting. Good chair depth leaves two to three fingers of space between the backs of the legs and the front edge of the chair.
  • Avoid “shoulder shrug” by allowing your arms to hang freely and rest lightly on your chair arms.
  • Sit all the way back, with your spine in a neutral position and shoulders relaxed. Use a pillow or a rolled towel for additional lumbar support. And keep your elbows at your sides and bent at 90 degrees.

  • Be sure the top third of your monitor is at eye level. Use a box or books to adjust the height. And position your monitor an arm’s length away from your face.
  • Try to avoid glare on your screen. For example, sit facing a window so your computer screen is facing away from the window. And adjust any lamps to prevent glare.
  • Keep your forearms, wrists and hands level with your keyboard, parallel with the floor. If you rest your wrists while typing, use a cushioned wrist rest.
  • Place your mouse close to your keyboard and at the same level.

 

  • Keep your thighs parallel to the floor with your feet supported. Use a sturdy box or books as a footrest as needed.
  • If you don’t use a footrest do make sure your legs are uncrossed, sit evenly on your bottom, and rest your feet flat on the floor.
  • Make sure there is ample foot and legroom under your desk.

  • Take the time to set up a custom workspace that fits you and your kind of work. As much as possible, choose an area where you can minimize distraction and extra stressors throughout the day.
  • Use an earpiece or headphones for phone calls rather than propping your phone between your head and shoulder.
  • Position your workspace near natural lighting if possible. Not only is natural lighting good for the eyes, it boosts the mood.
  • Look for potential tripping and spill hazards. At home this might include tangled cords, hot coffee, a pet or a set of toy blocks.

Download this helpful PDF for workspace setup and stretching tips.

Prevent the most-common workplace injuries wherever work finds you.

Watch these short, informative videos to help make sure you’re working safely at home.

STRETCHING & BREAKS

Chances are, you’re juggling more than ever. So protecting your mental health and managing stress is more important now too. Take plenty of breaks throughout your day, and try these stretches to relieve the tension that can build.

  • Take frequent breaks and vary your posture. Move every 30–60 minutes.
  • Make phone calls a time to walk and stretch. Use earbuds, headphones or speakerphone.
  • Try to perform these valuable stretches once or twice a day. Your body will thank you.

Finger stretch

Straighten your fingers until you feel a stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Next, bend the end and middle knuckles of your fingers. Hold 10-30 seconds.

Upper back stretch

Reach behind your head and place one hand on your upper back. Gently hold your elbow with your opposite hand. Pull your elbow toward the back of your head and reach your hand toward the middle of your back until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds. And then stretch using the other arm.

Arm and shoulder stretch

Lace your fingers together and turn your palms facing out. Straighten your arms in front of you. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Chest stretch

Lace your fingers together behind your head, bringing your elbows back as far as possible. Inhale deeply and lean back until you feel your muscles stretching. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Side neck stretch

Tilt your head toward one side, gently pushing your ear toward your shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Then same on the other side.

Head turn

Slowly turn your head and look to one side until your chin is parallel with your shoulder. Hold for three seconds. And the other side.

Chin tuck

Keeping your back straight, pull your chin toward your chest until you feel a stretch along the back of your neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Shoulder shrug

Slowly bring your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold for three seconds, then roll your shoulders back and down.

Lower back stretch

Sit forward in your chair and cross your right leg over your left. Put your left hand on your right knee and gently pull toward your left side. Slowly turn your head and shoulders to the right. Keep turning until you see the wall behind your right shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds. And then the other side.

Stay informed on ergonomics and COVID-19 in the workplace.

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