The Virtual Workforce: Ergonomic Solutions When Working From Home

Available for Interviews: Dr. Michael Evangel

Dr. Michael S. Evangel, Chiropractic Physician, is the owner of the Chiropractic Wellness Center in Ramsey, NJ. For over 30 years, his mission is to provide state of the art, high-quality care to people of all ages. 

Talking Points from Dr. Micheal Evangel on 
How to Prevent Ergonomic Problems While Working From Home:

Ergonomics is the study of people and how they biomechanically function in their environment. There are many problems associated with work stations that do not address proper ergonomics. Poor ergonomics over time can cause micro-tears in spinal discs and lead to symptoms.

ergonomic problems

Office workstation ergonomics is an area of concern.  Poor ergonomics can cause: Poor posture, Reduced job satisfaction, Reduced productivity/increased errors, Muscular tightness in the shoulders and/or neck, Arm fatigue, Low back pain, Eyestrain, Headaches, Other related stress, such as fatigue and tension related disorders, Distraction from work due to pain, Repetitive strain injuries or cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and/or tendonitis. In general, standing desks are great and ergonomically designed chairs with a low back support is preferable. 

ergonomic solutions

Try to do the following:

  1. Try not to talk on the phone with the receiver pinched between the head and the shoulder. Use a shoulder phone rest to reduce the severity of this repetitive trauma or use a headset.
  2. Adjust your sitting surface just below the bottom of the kneecaps, so the thighs will be parallel to the floor.
  3. You should then sit up straight, with your ankles, knees and hips all at 90 degree or right angles.

  Upper Body Ergonomics

  1. Armrests should be slightly below the level of the elbows while sitting in the upright position with the shoulders relaxed.
  2. Keyboard height should be 3-5 cm. below elbow height.
  3. The wrists should always be in the neutral position if working for extended periods, not flexed or extended.  Wrist supports or palm rests may be needed. Watches or bracelets can cause problems if they are pressed against the wrist at points of contact.

  Lower Body

  1. Both feet should be flat on the floor.
  2. Slouching, leg crossing and sitting on ankles should be avoided.
  3. Move around in your chair.  Do not stay still. Get up 5 minutes every hour and walk around.  Taking a break actually increases productivity.
  4. Try to stare out a window at a far away object for about 10 seconds every 15 minutes or so when working at a monitor.  This will reduce eyestrain. 
  5. Your monitor should be directly in front of you with the top of the monitor slightly below eye level.  A downward head tilt of 29 degrees is considered average. For minimum eyestrain, the distance a monitor should be from your eyes is 31.5 inches.  The monitor should be tilted to be perpendicular to your line of vision.
  6. Blue screen filters are useful for reducing eye strain.
  7. If a copyholder is needed, it should be placed next to the monitor.
  8. Your workstation light level should be 100-foot candles of full spectrum lighting for maximum efficiency and minimum eyestrain.  This is optimum for reading text on a monitor, keyboard recognition as well as for reading written or printed material.
  9. When reading, the reading material should be tilted upward between 20-45 degrees.
  10. Try to take a minimum of a 5 minute break every hour to get up and walk around. This will increase circulation to your legs and actually increase productivity. Doing a dew pushups or other physical activity may also be good, but may not be appropriate in certain work environments.

 

Interview: Dr. Michael Evangel

Dr. Michael S. Evangel owner of Chiropractic Wellness Center. His practice specializes in treating a variety of conditions, from clinical nutrition to chronic low back and neck pain, to rehabilitation following an accident or injury. Other focuses include improving your diet, what supplements to take, avoiding toxins, creating a healthier workplace, and increasing the overall quality of your health. Dr. Evangel is a former science teacher with master’s degree in environmental health.

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