Telecommuting and Mobile Ergonomics

Whether working at home, the local coffee shop or at another office on campus, it is imperative to set-up your workstation to allow for neutral postures. The cumulative effect of working on laptops, cell phones, and tablets may increase the risk of chronic neck/shoulder injuries and repetitive stress injuries of the hands and wrists.

person sitting in bed working and person sitting at a desk working

When telecommuting, Syntropy Ergonomics recommends the use of an:

  • External keyboard
  • External mouse
  • External monitor or laptop riser to maintain neutral, upright postures
  • Use a chair that allows your seated elbow height to match the work surface height.
  • Feet should be fully supported, either on the ground or footrest.
  • Avoid sitting on the edge of your seat, hips should be back with your spine fully supported by the chair.

DIY Hacks:

  • Try using a small box or crate for a footrest.
  • Explore the use of cushions and pillows to provide support when necessary.
  • If needed, use a rolled-up towel for added spine support. The towel should run the length of the spine. Place it between the shoulder blades to encourage a more upright posture when seated.
  • The keyboard and mouse should be positioned at seated elbow height.
  • Avoid overreaching; the elbows should hang naturally by your side and keep the mouse directly next to the keyboard.

DIY Hacks:

  • Switch it up – Consider short term standing at a taller counter or using an ironing board, but do so strategically. Note, the neck posture will likely be compromised so keep it to short durations (less than 20 minutes). It is best to perform your work tasks in a variety of ways (i.e. sit, stand, etc.), instead of the same repetitive movements.
  • Adjust the monitor height so the top 1/3 of the monitor is eye-level.
  • Ideally, your laptop is docked into an external monitor.
  • If you do not have an external monitor, raise your laptop to eye level with a riser or books.

Syntropy, our Ergonomics vendor, provided a workshop on eye strain and the importance of eye health. View here.