By Patricia Staszak, PT
With so many of us settled into working or schooling at home, we thought it would be a good idea to give some practical advice about how to work on a computer from home comfortably. We previously reviewed the best ergonomic set up while working at a desk, but here we look at adjustments to make when using a laptop.
Considerations for Comfort while using a Laptop
Comfortable positioning while using a laptop is the same as using a desktop computer. Hint – for a better setup, sit at a desk and not on the couch! Here are a few simple tips to avoid fatigue and injury while working on your laptop:
- Sit in a chair that supports an upright or slightly reclined position and allows your feet to be positioned on the floor.
- Maintain a neutral position of your head, neck, and spine with your gaze forward.
- Use a rolled-up towel or lumbar roll to place at your low back for additional support if needed.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse and elevate your computer to eye level.
- Use armrests to allow for relaxed shoulders and neutral wrists while working.
Find a centered and balanced position that allows you to relax while you focus on your work. Avoid collapsing or slumping in your chair. Visualize your head reaching to the sky and your feet lightly grounded to the earth. Check-in with yourself occasionally and relax any muscles that you may be unconsciously tightening. Your jaw, shoulders, or hips.
TIP: Set a timer at regular intervals – a reminder to adjust your posture or stand up/go for a walk.
Best Desk Chairs for Working or Schooling from Home
Generally, we want a chair that is highly adjustable to fit our unique bodies. And usually, the more adjustable a chair is, the more it costs. There are many, many options available, but we chose just a few favorites to share.
Steelcase Leep – This classic, high-end chair is fully adjustable and very durable. And it has a high price to go with it. The full price for these chairs can be over $1500, but as you can see from the link we have provided, there are many options to purchase for less than full price.
OfficeMaster Truly – $499 – This chair has adjustments to the arms, back, and seat, such as back height, lumbar support, seat height, and seat depth, so it will fit all of your ergonomic needs. It gets pricier when gussied up with high-end components, but it is still a relatively good value. This chair comes in 2 sizes, which helps those on the shorter or taller side.
Union & Scale™ Essentials Mesh Back Fabric Task Chair – This basic chair is inexpensive at just $119. Its features include tilt tension and tilt lock, adjustable height, and contoured seat with thick foam padding that provides lumbar support throughout the workday. This sturdy chair might work for a dorm room or as a “school” chair at home.
Another fantastic idea to improve your workstation without a high cost is to buy a chair second hand. The website OFFICE CHAIR @ WORK has a large selection and fantastic prices on refurbished chairs. Some of their chairs are up to 75% off!