Display Screen Equipment and the blogger

For most of us who work in an office, our work areas have been subject to a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment, so that our monitor, keyboard and mouse are in the right positions for us. The desk and chair are of the right type, height and position. I ask myself how many of us do the same thing at home. Do we tend to sit in front of our laptops and PCs on the sofa or at best at a table using the kitchen chair, while this is not a bad thing, having backache, neck ache and eyestrain from sitting too long in front of our screens does no one any favours. I know one person whose PC is under the stairs in a cupboard that makes Harry Potter's look spacious. For most of us at home we can spend as much if not more time at the computer, than we do at work, so it stands to reason that we should take care of ourselves.

Have you thought of doing a DSE assessment for your home work/blog station? There is plenty of good free advice online, such as the Health and Safety Executive (H.S.E).

There are just a few tips that may stop the aches and pains:

· Have a work area that is large enough for your needs and a reasonable height for you, be it a desk or a table. Be able to have the things you use regularly, close to hand without having to stretch or twist to get them.

· Having your keyboard positioned in front of you so your arms are not stretched out too far in front, with your mouse placed to the side of the keyboard that will be in a comfortable position for you. Try not to rest your wrists on the desk edge; if you have to rest your wrists may want to use a padded support.

· Use a chair with casters, good back support and adjustable arms that is also able to be raised and lowered so your feet can be placed flat on the floor, if you are a petite person you should consider a foot rest, and a tall person you may want to consider raising your desk. Before I had the assessment myself I used to think that raising the desk was a silly idea, now at 6'5" I really do appreciate having a higher working area that I can get my legs under and not feel squashed.

· Place your monitor at arms distance from your normal sitting position and have the top of your monitor at eyelevel. If you have a laptop you may want to consider a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse.

· Ensure your monitor is free from reflection and clean. As I mentioned earlier having the top of your monitor level with your eye line, and at arm’s length, while you're sitting upright with your feet flat on the floor or on your foot rest with the monitor at approximately arms distance from you.

· Make sure your work area is well lit. Use as much natural light as possible as this will reduce the strain on your eyes.

· Have regular breaks from your screen, it is recommended to take 10 minutes in every hour. This does not just reduce strain your eyes, but also allows you to move about, as sitting in one position for long periods is definitely not good for you.

In making your home work/blogging area user-friendly and allowing you to work without the need of painkillers or chiropractors is a good thing. It can also lead to you being more productive and creative writing.

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