Ergonomics Tips for Working and Schooling at Home

Ergonomics Tips for Working and Schooling at Home

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Home Office

Setting up Your Home Office

  • VIDEO - UC Ergonomics Consultant,

Meg Honan MS, CPE shows how to

set up your workstation at home (6:38)

  • VIDEO - Quick set up for your laptop workstation for brief and longer durations (0:48)

  • PDF - Setting up your workstation at home

Recommended Set Up for Computer Work

  • Chair

    • Arm support - Armrests supporting forearms

    • Leg support - knees at 90-110 deg, feet supported

    • Back support - support the low back curve

  • Desk/Table

    • Keyboard/Mouse Height (resting elbow level)

    • Arm support - forearm support on desk (w/ armless chair)

    • Standing (work surface at elbow level)
  • Monitor
    • Top of screen near eye level (lower with bifocals)
    • Avoid glare, sit perpendicular to the window

Easy Solutions for Brief Laptop Work

  • Use a mouse

  • Angle the laptop at 12-degrees, keep it close

  • Tuck the chin and look down with the eyes

  • Use a lap desk (or large cutting board or game box) if sitting on the couch

  • Try standing - set the keyboard on a higher surface (near elbow level)

Other Tips

  • Change positions at least once per hour

  • Use cues to move more - Try a timer or change posture when you transition to a new task

  • Walk around the house during phone/conference calls

  • Do stationary stretches or exercises during video meetings

  • PDF - Smartphone ergonomics

  • Keep a routine and a to-do list

  • Get fresh air and sunshine

  • Create wellness boundaries (ex: no email during lunch)

  • Practice Distance Socializing - Talk or video chat with friends, family and colleagues regularly

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Students at Home

Setting up Your Learning Area at Home

  • VIDEO - setting up your laptop on a table or desk (1:05)

  • VIDEO - using your laptop on the sofa (0:19)

  • VIDEO - using a tablet at a table (0:28)


  • PDF - Using a Laptop in the Classroom & at Home (English)

  • PDF - Using a Laptop in the Classroom & at Home (Spanish)

Top 10 Recommendations for Students of All Ages

1. Find your Best Work Space
  • Primary work space for assignments, projects, online lessons requiring keying, mousing and/or handwriting

  • Not necessarily for video meetings

  • Adequate lighting w/o glare

  • Minimal background noise

2. Support your Body
  • Back support with pillows

  • Foot support with box, pillow or rolled yoga mat

  • Arm support on table

3. Prop up the Screen
  • Laptop wedge (12-deg) for short duration

  • Raise screen to eye level and add keyboard/mouse

  • Tablet stand (try a picture frame!)

4. Change it Up
  • Use alternative workspaces for short durations or specific tasks, but maintain support for the body

  • Standing at kitchen counter (pull out cutting board)

  • Lap desk on sofa

  • If you must sit on the floor, get back support and use a worksurface/lapdesk

5. Plan for Video Meetings
  • Not necessarily the primary workspace

  • Be comfortable & avoid extra stress

    • Handsfree

    • Find good lighting

    • Strong internet – try a mobile hotspot

  • Optimize privacy

    • Virtual backgrounds

    • Sit with back against a wall

    • Minimal family interference

    • Headset with microphone

6. Keep Moving & Interacting with 3D
  • Between School Work

    • Utilize school-day transitions

      • To and from “school”

      • Up/down stairs or hallways between classes/lessons

  • During School Work

    • Stationary stretches and exercises during lectures or meetings

    • Use a timer for break reminders

  • Move More

    • Don’t forget about P.E. (YouTube™ workouts, GoNoodle™, Zoom™ team skill-training)

    • Balance 2D screen time & 3D work (crafts, art, building/making, card games)

7. Maximize Screen Space
  • Watch a lecture/lesson while ALSO taking notes on your laptop

    • Second monitor

    • Split screen

  • Screen mirroring

    • Use a smart TV, Apple TV, etc. to project lesson onto TV screen

    • Use lap desk or ironing board for taking notes on laptop

8. Use Headphones
  • Avoid craning your head forward to be near the speakers

    • May improve focus for students that are easily distracted

    • May increase attention span

    • Microphone preferred

9. Keep a Routine & Schedule
  • Especially helpful for students with anxiety and issues with transitions

  • Student input on schedule - increases feelings of control

  • Maintain standard meal and snack times from normal school days

  • Rotate activities to maintain motivation despite minimal accountability

  • Time management tips for older students with flexibility to self-schedule

    • Prioritize tasks based on importance/due dates

    • To-do list w specific goals (# of pages, questions, lessons, etc.)

    • Know your limits (how long should each segment be?, shorter bursts are better)

    • Use a timer/alarm to help stay on task

    • Eliminate distractions (social media, TV, etc.)

    • Work on one thing at a time

10. Stay Organized
  • For students that are new to email, help them create folders and learn how to organize the mail they receive

    • Schedule time to review and file mail

  • Filing system for paperwork

    • Accordion file by subject

    • Binder with tabs

    • File trays or folders