Home Office Ergonomics
Remote workers, here are some tips for your
home based computer set up.
Is Your Home Workstation Ideal?
It is important to work healthy! There has been a lot of research in applied Ergonomics to prevent discomfort in work tasks. This guide, prepared by CAL OSHA, offers key areas to consider when designing your workstation.
there are 2 people in this image demonstrating correct posture for using a computer.  One is at a sitting workstation and one is at a standing workstation.
Home Office : Things That You Can Do To Reduce Discomfort
Listen to your body. If you have an ache or pain, that means you need to modify your workstation. Here are some computer workstation modifications to help reduce discomfort in key areas:

Low Back: If you have ac hes and pains in your back, look at your seating. Make sure you are sitting in a chair rather than the couch or a bed. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor, your knees slightly lower than your hips and your feet resting on the floor or a footrest. The goal is to get your hips and knees at a 90 degree angle.

Elbows:   To get ride of wrist, thumb or neck discomfort, look at your set up for elbow and hand placement. Your goal is to keep your elbows close to your sides with your forearms parallel to the floor, creating a 90 degree angle between the upper arm and lower arm. If you are using a laptop, add a keyboard and mouse to move the input tools closer to your body.

Next, check the height of your keyboard and mouse. Your goal is to keep your elbows close to your sides with your forearms and wrists parallel to the floor, creating a 90 degree angle. Your wrists should be straight. If your forearm is angled up and your wrist has a backward bend or wrinkles, the keyboard and mouse are probably too high. Find a way to lower the keyboard, or raise the seat. One solution is to use the laptop in your lap. Lowering your hands below elbows height (at less than 90 degrees), is usually OK .

If you adjust an external keyboard height, make sure the external mouse gets the same change in height. When increasing the height of the keyboard and mouse, start small. Even a quarter of an inch change can be effective.

Neck: If you are experiencing some neck discomfort while working with your home workstation, check to see if raising or lowering the monitor height reduces discomfort. The top of your monitor should be eye level or below. To raise a laptop or monitor, use a level surface item that can hold the weight of the laptop. A telephone book or ream of paper are low cost temporary fixes. For a more permanent fix, you can order a riser based off of the measurements of your temporary fix.

There are monitor risers and laptop risers available online. Here is a video on a laptop riser to get the best angle. This would be used in combination with a plug in keyboard and mouse.
Helpful Tips

Ways to avoid Discomfort:

  • Reduced sitting for a prolonged period. Take frequent breaks. Get Up and Move as you are able!

  • Look away from your screen occasionally. Look away from the screen. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Look 20 feet away for 20 second,s every 20 minutes. When you do this you are forced to blink and it re-moistens your eyes. It also forces you to use your eye muscles in different ways, short vs. long distances. This reduces eye strain.

  • Make sure that you move your elbows and arms into different positions other than parallel to the floor. Stretching every 30 to 60 minutes will help your feel better.

  • Use Short Cuts on your keyboard to reduce repetitive mouse movements. See our TIP below for a resource on short cuts.
Give the wrist a break use a keyboard short cut.
TIP: If you are doing a lot of copy and paste work, use Control+ Shift + Arrow key
Keyboard with contrasting Yellow keys to a black back ground
Standing Workstations

  • Start with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Measure elbow height to get the Mouse and Keyboard height. It can be lower, never higher than elbow height.
  • Adjust your keyboard height to allow a neutral wrist, without a bend.
  • Your monitor should be arms distance from spine.
  • Your monitor height should be eye level or lower.  

The Mayo Clinic has a page with tips for setting up a standing workstation .
home made standing set up attacned to the back of the bedroom door.
Kids working on school work at home can benefit from an ergonomic workstation. Briotix, a respected Ergonomics consulting firm offers an article on this very subject.
Young woman using a tablet on a mount.  This posture is correct for the neck.
Missouri Assistive Technology TAP for INTERNET

For those that are TAP- I eligible , our program can provide adaptive computer input and output devices such as ergonomic mice, and keyboards, adjustable mounts for monitors and more. Here are a few examples of what can be provided for those who are eligible for the TAP for Internet program in Missouri.