We are quite passionate about ergonomics and proper techniques for avoiding all sorts of neck and back pain when working (from home, from the office, from anywhere) so we were THRILLED when renowned Cornell professor Alan Hedge offered up a seminar on working from home correctly. We took notes and summed it all up for you here. And you NEED to read this because we guarantee you’re set up in a way that’s most likely hurting you, giving you headaches, and causing pain.
Not everyone can achieve the ideal set up - which Professor Hedge identifies as this:
Worry not - here are 3 things you should IMMEDIATELY ADJUST to feel better:
1 - SCREEN HEIGHT + KEYBOARD PLACEMENT
View your computer screen with a straight neck- you shouldn’t be looking up or down or sideways - ideally straight ahead. If you have a laptop - then super easy- prop it up on some books so it’s nice and high. BUT If you are on a laptop and it’s raised, use a separate keyboard and mouse so you can keep your forearms and hands level and straight and close to the body- this is key to avoid pain in your shoulders.
Here's Melissa demonstrating - note her books stacked up - she needs to get a wireless keyboard but at least she has the wireless mouse for now.
2 - YOUR SEAT + FEET
Sit back in your chair and put your feet on the ground. It might sound obvious but avoid hunching over. Ideally your lower back curves in toward your naval. Sit back in your chair so your body weight is actually being supported by the chair back. If your chair doesn’t have back support, then use a pillow or rolled up towel behind your lower back. Your feet can also be propped up on a few books if they don’t hit the floor - but don’t pull them under the chair - this restricts blood flow to your feet and lower legs.
3 - THE MAGIC FORMULA
Turns out standing all day can be just as bad as sitting all day. As with many things in life, a combination of techniques is ideal. Sitting, stretching, and standing are what you should be doing - taking a call? Stand and walk around a bit. Emailing or writing? Stand and dictate as you stretch.
Alan Hedge’s 3 S’s ideal work pattern is as follows - for every 30 minutes of the work day, you should be
Sit = 20 MINUTES
Stand = 10 MINUTES
Stretch = 2 MINUTES
If you want to GEEK OUT on this - Professor Hedge has a VERY DETAILED online worksheet that you can fill out to see how your set up scores, ergonomically speaking of course.
Check it out here:
OR just save the MAGIC FORMULA on your desktop as a reminder -
Hope everyone is doing well and thank you for reading.
Until next time! Lucie + 22ID team