Smart Working: Postural Advice

of COVID-19, the infection due to the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, smart working was not so widespread, at least in Italy.

However, faced with the need to contain the infection and to continue production activities, many companies, also on the recommendation of the Italian government, have promoted this form of work.

Hence, many people have had to "carve out" a space inside their home (the classic workplace of those who practice smart working), in order to work with tranquility and concentration.

This article focuses on an aspect often overlooked by those who are preparing for smart working for the first time, but in reality it is fundamental for working continuity, concentration and productivity: we are talking about the home workstation and its ergonomics. .

More precisely, the central theme of the content is correct posture and how to promote it with an adequate home workstation.

correct when sitting, regardless of the activity you are conducting.

On the subject, the classic indications are:

  • Keep the back straight (respecting the physiological curves), the shoulders pulled back (with the shoulder blades in an attitude of slight adduction) and the buttocks touching the end of the chair.
  • Keep your neck and head upright, aligned with each other. An important help in favoring this attitude is to think about keeping the ears in line with the shoulders.
    Studies on the subject say that bending your head forward by just 15 degrees doubles the pressure on your neck, obviously causing you more stress.
  • Avoid leaning on the armrests of the chair or taking prolonged lateral flexion positions with your back.
  • Keep the knees bent at 90 ° and set the height of the chair to keep them slightly lower than the hips.
  • Leave 5-7 centimeters of free space between your lower thighs and the edge of the chair. This postural stance reduces the build-up of pressure in the lower thighs.
  • Always keep your feet firmly attached to the floor (knees at 90 ° favor this position). To help the feet rest on the floor, you can use an office footstool.
  • Don't sit with your legs crossed. This attitude limits blood circulation and spoils the general posture.
  • Stand up on your feet at least every 30 minutes. Sitting for too long leads to tightening of muscles and joints, which will be painful when you get up.

The advice above is valid for any type of chair used, so whether it is a normal kitchen chair or an office chair.

from the monitor, the position of the arms, the use of a laptop, etc.

Position of the Monitor Relative to the Eyes

The monitor should be at such a height that the first line of text is on the same line as your eyes, which allows you to keep your neck in a position free of any particular stress to the muscles that govern its movement.
Moreover, a screen too high or too low would induce the user to keep the neck in prolonged extension or prolonged flexion.

For the area in question, a very important piece of advice is to move your eyes, and not your head, in the act of moving your gaze on the screen.
The movement of the eyes prevents the neck from assuming positions that can cause stress.

Distance of the Monitor from the Eyes

The distance between the monitor and the eyes should be at least 50 centimeters.
Some indications suggest to place the screen at arm's length: this is a useful strategy for setting the right monitor-eye spacing at speed.

Position of the Body with respect to the Chair

Always respecting the physiological curves, it is a good idea to keep your back always leaning against the back of the chair.

Some experts also recommend having a chair with a reclining backrest and setting the latter with an inclination of 100-110 °; all this serves to reduce pressure in the spinal cord.

Someone else also recommends using an ergonomic pillow for lumbar support to be placed behind the lower back.

Remember that the shoulders must be kept backwards, with the shoulder blades slightly in adduction, but in general always relaxed.

Position of the keyboard and arms

  • The correct keyboard position is just below the elbows.
    Furthermore, some experts suggest positioning the keyboard with a slight negative inclination, so as to avoid an attitude of continuous extension of the wrist at the time of typing.
  • In the act of touching the keyboard with the hands, the elbows must have an opening angle of 100-110 °.
    This position avoids the prolonged maintenance of the wrists in extension or flexion; moreover, it promotes the correct position of the neck and back.
    To understand if the opening angle of the elbows is correct, just make sure that the hands, once on the keyboard, are slightly lower than the elbows.
  • Keep the arms along the body (remember that the arm is the stretch of the upper limb that goes from the shoulder to the elbow).
    To favor this arrangement is undoubtedly the correct position of the keyboard.
    It is important to remember that a flexion of the arm on the keyboard (thanks to an "incorrect arrangement of the latter") creates tension in the shoulder joint, exposing it to the risk of injury.
  • If you are using a laptop, it is advisable to have a separate keyboard and use it like a desktop computer in the manner described above.
  • If you have a palm rest, remember to use it only when you are not typing on the keyboard.
    Incorrect use of the palm rest promotes tensions in the wrist, predisposing to very annoying local pain.
  • Ensure a desk with a keyboard tray that is large enough to accommodate the keyboard and mouse, and allow movement of the latter.
  • Whenever possible, opt for keyboard shortcuts instead of using the mouse.
    This is because excessive use of the mouse can affect the wrist joint.

Use of the Telephone

If during work on the PC you receive a call or need to make one, it is advisable to use earphones, the speakerphone or temporarily interrupt typing and use the telephone in the classic way; instead, it is advisable to avoid positioning the telephone between ear and shoulder, as such behavior leads to assume a wrong posture with the aforementioned joint.

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