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The ‘N-E-W’ Normal: Working From Home and Basic Ergonomics

By Jessica Hutchinson, PT, DPT, OCS


Coronavirus is making working from home the ‘N-E-W’ normal here in Seattle.

 At Movement Systems Physical Therapy, we are here to help you adapt to be the most productive, and more importantly, reduce injury and pain while working from home.


Setting up your office workstation is as easy as remembering the acronym: N-E-W

N: Neutral Posture

  • Use the best and most comfortable chair around the house.
    • You can add a pillow or rolled up bath/beach towel for back support.
    • Raise your chair if your table or desk is too high. Use a pillow as a seat cushion if needed. Aim for a 90-degree angle of your hips.
    • Support your feet on a phone book or step stool so that they firmly touch the ground while sitting. Aim for a 90-degree angle of your knees.

E: Eye and Elbow Height

  • Raise your monitor using books, old shoe boxes, paper reams, amazon boxes, etc. The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
  • Shoulders should be relaxed with the elbows bent around 90-degrees and wrists straight.

W: Workstation

  • Use an external keyboard and mouse.
    • The mouse should be placed at elbow level.
    • Make sure the edge of the table is not too sharp, which causes pressure points on wrists and forearms, otherwise line the table with an edge protector.
  • If standing (ex- at your kitchen counter), keep your legs, torso, neck, and head approximately in line and vertical – avoiding slouching or placing more weight on one side. Be sure to still have monitor at or slightly below eye level.
  • Do not sit or stand for too long – set a timer to take regular micro-breaks away from your laptop.


Give us a call at (206) 405-1864 if you have any questions or need help reducing pain as a result of working from home!


Jessica Hutchinson is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy who strongly believes in a ‘patient first’ mentality for long term success. She has special interests in overhead athletes, pre- and post-operative surgeries, and repetitive injuries.




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