Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic? Staying healthy and productive when working from home starts with a good set-up of your main work area. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries offers tips on how to best set up a safe and efficient workstation.

Ensure your chair is comfortable and working appropriately:

  • Create a standing station and change positions from time to time
  • Ensure your keyboard, mouse and monitor allow your arms, wrists and neck to be at comfortable positions – Your head should be level, shoulders relaxed, wrists straight and lower back and feet supported

Take care of your neck and shoulders:

  • Align the monitor’s center with the middle of your body
  • Place your monitor where you can easily see it while using your chair’s backrest (this will depend on things like monitor size, prescription glasses, etc.)
  • The top of the monitor should be at eye level
  • If you wear bifocals, position the monitor so you don’t have to raise your chin to see clearly
  • Adjust your chair or use a footrest if needed

Take care of hands and arms:

  • If your mouse hand or arm get uncomfortable, switch hands
  • You can change your mouse settings so index finger click buttons make sense
  • Look into other kinds of pointing devices

Give yourself a break:

  • Set reminders to take breaks and move around
  • Refocus your eyes on something 20 feet away every 20 minutes
  • Purposely blink often

Make your workspace work for you:

  • Ensure you have plenty of leg space, free from obstacles and hazards
  • Keep frequently used tools close to you
  • Remove tripping hazards
  • Use a headset or speakerphone if you can
  • For laptops use appropriate accessories, like separate keyboard, mouse and monitor, as much as possible

Regardless of how comfortable your home workstation is, Washington L&I experts encourage you to change positions at least every hour. “Change positions frequently, because your next position is your best position.”