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How to improve your lockdown desk setup

Apr 9 2020

When it comes to working from home during lockdown, many of us are having to get creative about how we utilise our living space.

Some of us have a dedicated home office with all the right kit. But with kids being home-schooled, and family members or housemates working from home too, some of us are having to make do with a makeshift desk setup in unusual spaces. Whatever your desk setup, the most important thing is that you’re making it work for you.

Fortunately, there are some things we can all do (non-dependant on kit or space), to ensure we’re maintaining good working posture and avoiding those unwelcome neck or back aches and pains.

Our clinical manager, Rachel has pulled together some easy-to-follow posture pointers below:

How to sit comfortably at your desk

  • Sit right back in your chair. Your bottom should be as far back as it can go, with your back supported on the backrest. A lumbar (lower spine/back) support can also be extremely useful for keeping the spine aligned in its natural curvature.
  • Sit close to your desk.
  • Your forearms should be horizontal and supported by the desk. Your wrists should be straight when typing. If you use armrests, these should be positioned at desk height (effectively a continuation of the surface your desktop or laptop is on).
  • Avoid excess pressure from the edge of your seat on the backs of legs and knees. A footrest may be helpful if your feet don’t reach the floor.

Your screen positioning

  • Have your screen directly in front of you, not off to one side i.e. make sure not to rotate your body.
  • Your monitor or screen should be an arm’s length away. You may need to tweak this depending on your sight.
  • The top of the monitor or screen should be at eye level.
  • Your screen should be clear from glare or bright reflections. This is often easiest if the screen is not directly facing windows or bright lights. Curtains or blinds may be adjusted to reduce excessive light.

Reduce clutter

  • There should be enough workspace to accommodate other equipment or documents you need. Remove any unnecessary clutter.
  • Your keyboard should sit directly in front of you, approximately 10cm from the edge of the desk.
  • The mouse should be close to the keyboard, within easy reach. Make sure not to grip it too tightly.
  • Underneath your desk should be clear from clutter, you should have space to move your legs freely.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast controls on your screen to suit lighting conditions in the room.

Mixing it up and giving yourself a break

  • You should stretch and change position every 20-30 minutes to break up long spells of sitting.
  • Take a five-minute break, every hour away from your workstation, including having your lunch away from your desk. If you are working at a laptop you should have a 5-minute break every 30 minutes

And that’s a wrap!

By following these simple guidelines, you should feel more comfortable and productive when working from home. Alternatively, if you have noticed some stiffness or discomfort that’s continuing to persist, then our bespoke Online Desk Assessments are a great way to assess your desk setup, and find new ways to keep your deskwork free from pain. Find out more here.