If you’re working remotely you're likely missing your desk chair or standing desks* from the office. But, just because you're home doesn’t mean that your home workspace can’t have some of the ergonomic features that make your space at the Broad so comfortable. Here are some tips to help you feel your best while working at home.
* If you have a standing desk at the Broad, you are permitted to pick it up. Please note that they are heavy and you will likely need two people for the job. Please contact Facilities in advance if you need assistance.
Pay attention to posture!
Some examples of awkward positions while working from home include slouching, sitting with poor posture, holding your arms in a fixed position for too long (such as holding a phone), craning your neck to hold a phone, laying in bed or on the couch, and staring at the screen for long periods of time.
It’s crucial that you vary your posture throughout the day because sitting in the same position or chair all day can lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. Try switching positions throughout the day and setting a timer for stretch or “movement” breaks.
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Adjustments to make at home
- Put a pillow on your seat: Placing a thin pillow underneath your seat can go a long way to making an ordinary chair a lot more comfortable. If you don’t have a pillow, you can also fold up a fluffy towel for the same effect. Draping a soft towel over the back of your chair is also a small thing that can make your chair feel plush.
- Add a rolled towel for lumbar support: If you’re someone who struggles with lower back pain, lumbar support pillows that rest on the back of your pelvis have been shown to increase comfort while seated. You don’t need to buy a fancy pillow to accomplish this effect; it is recommended that you roll a towel and place it between your lower back and chair.
- Put your feet up: Supporting your feet on an elevated surface, or stretching your legs long increases circulation and can feel nice. Ideally, your hips and thighs should form 90-degree angles when you sit in your chair, but you can move your feet back and forth for exercise.
- Elevate your laptop: Laptops are never going to be ergonomically good, because the monitor is either going to be too low or the keyboard is going to be too high, so making proper adjustments are important. Ideally, the top of your monitor should be just below eye level, so you don’t have to strain your neck to read. If you’re working on a reading-intensive task, prop your laptop up on objects (like a stack of books or shoeboxes - get creative!) so it’s eye-level. Then, when you need to type, you can lower it to a level that allows your arms to be bent at 90-degree angles.
- Rest your eyes: Make sure your workspace is well lit, and don’t forget to rest your eyes every few minutes by looking away from the screen for 20 seconds.
How Broad is helping
- To request a remote ergonomic consultation or a virtual group ergonomic training, please email EHS.
- If you need a computer mouse or keyboards at home, you can order them directly from BITS and they will either ship the items to your home or you can pick them up onsite.
- To purchase additional ergonomics equipment, learn more on EHS’s Ergonomics page.
- Broadies may take home monitors and peripherals needed for remote work. Each business unit should track what equipment is being taken home and ensure that it returns when remote work ends. You may come to the office to collect your items.
- If you need something non-computer-related (desk, chair, etc), speak to your manager. With their approval, you may purchase and submit reimbursement up to $250. This expense will be charged against the group’s administrative budget. When you enter the reimbursement into Concur with the receipt, let John Travia know. Any budget-related questions should be directed to Marlene Andrade.
- If you would like to order a standing desk for your home, you must get your manager's approval before ordering it and then submit the reimbursement via Concur.