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Work from home ergonomics and how to avoid desk fatigue

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Amy Graber PT, DPT

Desk fatigue is real. If you are experiencing low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, eye strain or any other muscle pain or aches, it may not be related to your workouts…it may be related to your work from home ergonomics! In this virtual world we find ourselves in, we are spending more and more time in front of our computers in the same postures all day long. Today on the Fit Family blog, we want to share some tips for how to avoid this pain and evaluate your work from home ergonomics.

Many people have spent longer than anticipated in a work-from-home situation. If you did not anticipate working from home for this extended period of time, you may not have set yourself up with a comfortable workspace. Or, you may have that home office, but find yourself spending more time there without the added time spent commuting, walking to-and-from your office, or even getting out for lunch. While there are many benefits of working-from-home, the static postures behind our desks can be a consequence for some.

We talked to our team of mobile private physical therapists about how to prevent or reverse our soreness from sitting or standing at a desk. Our team put together some exercises to add into your daily routine and some tips for evaluating your work from home ergonomics. In addition, the biggest thing our physical therapists suggest is MOVING! Changing your postures throughout the day as many times as possible will help prevent the static postures causing stiffness, soreness, and tightness.

Work from home ergonomics and how to avoid desk fatigue

Standing work from home ergonomics

Whether you are standing at a standing desk or your kitchen countertop, here are some suggestions to set up your workspace:

  • Both feet flat on the floor, about shoulder width apart
  • Weight distributed evenly between both feet
  • Eyes level with the top of your monitor or screen
  • Chin tucked back
  • Head in line with shoulders
  • Arms resting between 90° and 120° degree angle
  • Use a laptop stand, cardboard box, or textbooks to raise your screen
  • Use a keyboard and a mouse rather than reaching for your raised keyboard/mouse on your laptop

Seated work from home ergonomics

If you are sitting during any part of your work day, here are some tips for setting up your workspace:

  • Both feet flat on the floor (not dangling)
  • Eyes level with the top of your monitor or screen
  • Head, shoulders, and hips in line
  • Booty at the back of your chair
  • Arms resting between 90° and 120° degree angle
  • Use a laptop stand, cardboard box, or textbooks to raise your screen
  • Use a keyboard and a mouse rather than reaching for your raised keyboard/mouse on your laptop

Work from home ergonomics exercises

Setting up your workspace for success is a great place to start! In addition, our team of mobile physical therapists suggests adding in mobility exercises to get you out of your desk postures and counteract some of the positioning that occurs during the day.

We put together a list of twelve exercises to reduce desk fatigue on our YouTube channel. You can find the exercises here! These are exercises that can be done once a day or even every couple of hours at your desk as you find your posture stiffening and positioning making you feel tight or uncomfortable.

Moving your body frequently throughout the day is the best way to combat the static postures we experience while working from home. Take a walk during the day, get out for lunch, do some jumping jacks, do Fit Family’s suggested mobility exercises….whatever works for you! But, just keep moving!

More questions?

Need mobile physical therapy in Scottsdale? Contact us at Fit Family Physical Therapy for a free physical therapy consultation phone call. We can address your concerns and help you determine appropriate developmental milestones for your toddler. Skip the line with physician and insurance wait times, talk to us, and start your path to pain- and symptom-free activity today!


About the Author
Amy Graber PT, DPT

Amy Graber PT, DPT has practiced physical therapy in a variety of settings. She has worked specifically with the pediatric population, assisting infants and young children reach developmental milestones, or rehabilitating young athletes. Amy has also worked extensively with adult patients and finds equal joy in helping adults reduce disability and reach their movement potential. She has specific experience with orthopedics, gait & balance training, and geriatrics.

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