Is Working From Home Becoming a Pain in the Neck?

From the couch to the coffee table or the kitchen there are many places you may have found yourself working since the COVID-19 pandemic – some less than ideal than others.

  With many organisations now having a large proportion of their workforce working from home employees have had to adapt to this change, raising potential issues of compliance with DSE regulations and best practices. Appropriate DSE training and awareness is more important now than ever before in fact, for anyone that uses a screen anywhere.

So, what can be done?

1. View your computer screen with a straight neck.

Make sure to have your screen at a comfortable viewing height. Don’t be looking down at your screen, whether it’s a laptop on a table or your phone. A lot of people choose to put their keyboard and mouse in front of them with the screen off to the side and as a result, end up dealing with pain from swiveling their neck. If you are using a desktop screen or laptop working from home balance higher books or a raiser block to lift it to a comfortable position straight in front of you. Position your screen at an angle so it ensures you’re sitting in a comfortable position.

2. Don’t look down.

Don’t read from a tablet or paper that’s flat on your table because when you do this, it means your head will constantly have to move up and down and back and forth between a computer screen(or laptop) and reading material. Having a vertical document holder for your paperwork and stand for your tablet would minimise the need for looking down.

3. Reduce the time you work on your bed

We totally get it. When you work from home it can be draining and sometimes the desk just isn’t where you want to be. But a bed is way worse for you than a chair because your legs will be crossed or extended vertically and you will use them as support for your laptop. This leaves the laptop positioned too low for optimal screen viewing which means your back will be hunched over. If the bed is your only option, put a pillow behind your back to rest against the headboard and put your laptop on a cushion in your lap. If you have a bed tray great, this could also be used for the laptop to go over your legs which will allow you to type at a comfortable height without straining your neck.

 4. Positioning your monitor from glare.

To reduce visual eye strain from glare, then don’t work with your back to a window. The light coming in causes glare on your screen and it’s also best not to work facing the window because you’ll be staring into the light. If the window has shades it can be closed. You should try to have your screen perpendicular to the window. if you’re working from a glass table cover it. This will help prevent any glare from reflecting.

  1. If the characters is on the screen are not sharp or are flickering then the DSE may need servicing or adjusting.

  2. Use the controls on the screen to adjust the brightness to suit the lighting conditions in the room.

  3. Keep the screen clean.

  4. Make sure that the text is large enough to read comfortably

  5. And choose colours that are easy to read

5. Prolonged standing

While it’s true that it’s not healthy to remain sitting down all day, It’s also true that standing to work requires more energy than sitting. This places increased strain on the circulatory system as well as the legs and feet. Standing for extended lengths of time could increase the risk of varicose veins. So, periodically (every 20 to 30 minutes ) you should stretch and move around for a minute or two to get the circulation going and relax the muscles. Walk to make a phone call or make a tea or coffee but don’t try to work for hours on end standing up.

6. Keyboard/mouse/touch pad

If you use any of these items put them at a comfortable height in front of you. So for example, if your laptop has been raised to get your screen to the right level then really you should use a separate keyboard and mouse. You can use your desk to keep your hands level and straight and your arm is positioned comfortably at your side. The more you stretch your arm out to the side the greater the chance you have of straining your neck or shoulder. AND when you’re typing place your fingers lightly on the keyboard buttons and try not to hold the mouse too tightly.

7. Give yourself a break

Why not give your arms and hands a little rest? Voice recognition these days is good for most texts and emails

8. Your chair – sit back

Even when you’ve done all the right things and your desk is set up correctly, you might still end up slouching or sitting in ways that are not good for your posture. At times we do things without realising it like leaning on one of our elbows or leaning forward to see the computer screen. This can cause our arms back neck or legs to stiffen up. So, you need your hips towards the back of the chair with your feet firmly flat on the ground. your chair should also be high enough so that your knees are lower or on the same level as your hips. By sitting back in the chair Your body weight can be supported. If you can recline the angle of your chair this will make sure all of your back is fully supported. But remember to take a break every 60 minutes or so and get up. Make a phone call while standing or get a glass of water. Just stand up and move for a couple of minutes.

9. 20-20-20 Rule

By taking breaks from looking at your screen can significantly reduce eyestrain. Here’s how the 20-20-20 Rule works. After 20 minutes of working on the screen, look at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Some of the things that you can learn with Bridge Training Services are quite simple. Like sitting at your desk correctly,  resting your eyes, and doing other tasks so that you don’t come under any strain.

Our Display Screen Equipment course covers topics such as:

  • What is DSE?

  • Injuries associated with poor usage

  • Best practice