– Sathish Nandagopal is founder and director, S Cube Ergonomics Pvt. Ltd, Bengaluru
It’s important to create a study space at home that encourages good posture reduces exertion and fatigue and promotes overall student well-being
Six months into study from home through online media, there are increasing complaints of a growing number of children countrywide experiencing backaches, neck pain and eye strain. Since the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of education institutions in early March and schooling moved online, children are spending long hours before digital gadgets such as laptops, desktops and/or mobiles for study and research.
Most often, the cause of back and neck pain is incorrect posture. For instance children slouching on the bed and/or sofa with laptops/mobiles on laps for long hours can lead to severe pain in the back, shoulders, and neck muscles, leading to poor concentration, stress and declining academic performance.
Therefore it’s important to create a study space/ workstation at home that encourages good posture, reduces exertion and fatigue and promotes overall student well-being. The first priority should be to purchase an ergonomically designed chair and desk to meet study from home requirements. A good choice is a light-weight comfortable all-mesh ergonomic chair. These chairs are user-friendly, increase blood flow and consequently alertness levels. A perfect desk choice to suit compact homes is a fixed desk with pedestal and two drawers for storing books/stationery.
Moreover, I strongly recommend investing in computer monitor arms — they support and elevate a computer screen, laptop or tablet — to promote a clutter-free study space and support a healthy, ergonomic working posture. Many students tend to lean in toward their desktop computer monitor; whereas monitor arms enable them to pull the computer monitor closer so they can sit in a healthy posture, with their back against the chair, and still work their screens. Alternately, if a student is a laptop user, then a laptop holder may work better than a monitor arm. It raises the laptop screen height to promote good ergonomic posture while significantly improving user comfort and preventing ‘laptop hunch’.
A keyboard tray is another vital accessory to create an adapting, ergonomic home study space. This underrated accessory enables the keyboard and mouse to be brought closer, encouraging students to sit in a healthy, neutral posture without leaning forward. And finally, invest in a foot rocker that relieves feet soreness triggered from static sitting through gentle rocking of the feet.
With the study from home regimen set to continue for the next few months, it’s imperative for parents to provide ergonomic workstations for children to enable them to optimise their learning outcomes.