Are you unable to focus while studying online? Plagued by recurring backaches and headaches that don’t seem to go away? If your answer to any or both of the above questions is YES, then poor ergonomics could be one of the reasons.
Ergonomics is the science of fitting a given environment to a worker or group of workers, to limit exposure to physical stressors that could cause discomfort or injury. Making the most of your working/ studying environment at home is key. So, Let's Stop saddling ourselves up to our kitchen table to tackle our daily assignments, shall we?? :D
Here are some Ergonomic Tips for Productive Learning/Working (especially when it’s online);
1. Location, Location, Location
Just as location is important to a brick-and-mortar business, it is essential to have a dedicated space in your home for work or study too. A designated workspace trains your mind to focus on the job at hand.
2. Posture is everything
Ensuring a straight posture is vital when spending prolonged hours in front of a screen. For a healthy posture, an office chair with lumbar support works best. Use adjustable armrests in order to keep your shoulders relaxed. Doing the above will help prevent and alleviate shoulder, neck, and back pain.
3. Desk height matters
The correct desk height, for obvious reasons, is as important as an appropriate chair. An optimum desk height will align your elbows and wrists, providing for Easy access to the keyboard and mouse. Ensure that the monitor and screen are at eye level, preventing neck strain. It would be worth investing in a laptop/monitor stand if the desk is not at optimum height. If a stand is not an option, consider using books to prop up your laptop/monitor.
4. Give your legs some space!
Sitting directly in front of drawers or cabinets would result in you hunching your back and keep you distanced from your screen. Choose a desk that provides ample legroom.
5. Your Feet need support too!
Invest in under-desk foot support to prop up your feet. The trick is to keep your feet flat on the floor or on the support. If the footrest is not an option, consider using a box, or prop under your feet.
6. Take Frequent Breaks
It’s essential to take frequent breaks while working or studying online. Once your workspace setup is ready, try not to stay there all day. Better not! Stretch, break for 2 or 3 minutes, and take a quick walk in your home intermittently, it helps loosen up your muscles and alleviate soreness. Exercising your eye muscles is vital too. Staring at the screen for long periods can strain your eyes. Looking away from your screen and then blinking Twenty times, followed by staring at a small distant object helps.
7. Just the right lighting
Can’t stress enough how important the right lighting is. You’re working hard enough, don’t make your eyes work hard too! Remove unwanted dark areas and shadows from your workspace, that is to say, do not just illuminate your work-specific area, i.e., just your desk. As this will leave you with strained eyes. Avoid glare, natural or artificial. You don’t want tired eyes hampering your productivity, or that could be an ‘eyesore. Keeping the brightness on your screen in sync with the brightness of your room. Getting blackout curtains/blinds. Also, make sure your workstation is well-lit and if possible, in a space that provides natural light. A space with natural light keeps you more alert while you work, and also helps you sleep better. Don’t snooze on this one!