How to stay comfortable while working, learning from home amid pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many family members have found it challenging working from home whether it’s for a job or for online education classes. 

As the disease continues to spread, making conference calls at home or taking exams online seems like it will be the new normal for some time yet.

“Were not in work-from-home survival mode anymore,” Todd Baker, an expert with Empowerment Ergonomics, told CTV News Toronto.

Baker said he knows the importance of a good home office set-up and said he’s seen a major shift in his clients’ work habits.

“As people feel like they need to be in front of their screen to be accountable for work, people are sitting longer hours,” Baker said.

“It’s important that your body is in good alignment so that you have the most energy and attention for the work you’re trying to do.”

Whether you have access to a full-fledged home office or you have to work from your bed in a studio apartment, it’s important to minimize strain on your body. 

“As long as you understand some simple principles of ergonomics, you can translate those to many different work areas and the basics of good posture is the same for kids as well,” Rachel Rabkin Peachman with Consumer Reports. 

Experts say that if a person’s lower back doesn’t reach the back of their chair comfortably then they should put a pillow behind them and if their feet doesn’t reach the floor, place them on a stable footrest. 

While working on a computer, the bend of a person’s arms should be anywhere from 90 to 115 degrees and their eyes should be arm’s length away from the computer with the monitor at eye level. 

“Some people prefer to add a second monitor, both for comfort, but also for efficiency,” Rabkin Peachman said.

People may also want to consider a standing desk, but those can come with a hefty price tag. 

“It isn’t that standing all day is better than sitting. It’s that a standing desk gives you the ability to move around more which is key,” Rabkin Peachman said.

Baker adds that “it is more important than ever to find ways to change positions, take breaks, visual, physical, and cognitive breaks to change positions and stay healthy.”

Ergonomic keyboards and mice might look a little weird, but they can also help to put less stress on your wrists, forearms, shoulders and back.

Staring at a computer for hours can cause eye strain and headaches so experts recommend you follow the 20-20-20 rule. 

Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away. Doing that can help give your eyes a break. 

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