Consumer Watch: Working comfortably from home

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Lots of us are working out of an impromptu home office right now, and when building your "work-from-home space," it's important to make sure you're minimizing strain on your body.

If you're finding yourself hunched over and squinting at your computer screen while working from home, you might start to experience muscle strains, headaches and dry eyes.

Even if you don't have a "professional-grade" home office, you can still make a healthy workstation. And most of the time, you can use stuff you already have around the house!

Start with your chair. You'll want your feet to rest on the floor and your lower back to fit snugly against the back of the chair. If your lower back doesn't reach the back of your chair comfortably, put a pillow behind you. If your feet don't reach the floor, put them on a stable footrest.

A general rule: your eyes should be your arm's length away from the computer. The top of the computer monitor should be at eye level so you're only looking down *slightly.*

Now that you're comfortably seated, CR says it's important to remember to take breaks.

"When you're staring at the computer screen for really long stretches, we tend to avoid blinking," said Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter Rachael Rabkin Peachman.

To avoid eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule -- Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look 20 feet away.

Finally, be sure to keep moving around throughout the day.

"That will really help prevent some of the back strain and the shoulder strain that you may otherwise feel if you're working in an office setting where you're expected to be seated at your desk for long stretches," Peachman said.

One last note: even though you're working from home, consider keeping your usual workday hygiene regiment. Shaving your face, combing your hair and getting dressed in professional clothes can help you get into a productive headspace and keep cabin fever from creeping in.

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