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Working From Home – Answers to the 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

Working From Home – Answers to the 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

We have hosted a number of Working From Home webinars in the past month and there have been some common questions.  We thought it would be valuable to provide our answers:

#1 What do I do if I don’t have a separate keyboard and mouse for my laptop?

Laptops require us to compromise either our viewing level or our hand height.  For extended use, this can increase the stresses on our body.MoveSafe strongly recommends a peripheral keyboard and mouse for sustained work on a laptop. Having the ability to separate the keyboard and mouse from the laptop screen will go a long way in improving your home ergonomic set up.

#2 What laptop stand do you recommend?

The purpose of a laptop stand is to raise your screen to the appropriate viewing height.  Ideally your seated eye height should be level with the top toolbar.  Shoe boxes can work well but may push the screen too far away for some individual’s viewing needs.  A more formal laptop riser allows the computer screen to be raised but positioned closer to the individual, which can help minimize the need to hunch forward to view a screen.

We usually look for something portable, to allow you to move it around to different workstations throughout your home.  The following example is reasonably priced and available through an online retailer 

#3 If I’m standing at my kitchen counter to work, should I have a mat to stand on?

MoveSafe recommends standing in clean shoes or slippers, something that offers a bit of support.  We do not recommend an anti-fatigue mat.  Anti-fatigue mats are intended for individuals standing statically for 8 hours a day and are designed to provide a slightly unstable platform, encouraging small movements in the lower body to increase blood flow.  If you are standing at your kitchen counter, a much better solution is to walk away from your computer every 15-30 minutes.  This gives both your mind and body a short break and promotes increased circulation.  We recommend standing for short stints, frequently throughout the workday and listening to your body when it tells you, it is time to sit down!

#4 What can you do about eye strain?

The general rule of thumb for eye health when working at the computer is 20/20/20.  Look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes to look at something that is at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.  This has always been important, but for many of us our screen time has gone up significantly during this period of self isolation, so it’s even more important to take vision breaks.  Don’t forget, this rule applies to reading on cell phones as well!

#5 What about touch screen computers?

There are 2 potential risks with touchscreen computers:

  • Awkward Reaching.  With many new laptops having touch screen capabilities, it can be tempting to forgo a traditional mouse and use the screen instead.  However, reaching to the screen, especially if it is positioned to facilitate eye level viewing, can result in a significant reach upward, putting stress on the shoulder and upper back.  

  • Eye Strain. Touch screen computers are more reflective so are more susceptible to glare than mat finish screens.  It is important to consider the light source when using a touch screen computer.  To minimize any potential eye strain when using a touch screen, try to position yourself perpendicular to the window or light source if you can. 

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