When working from home, many people settle for the cheapest setup, but that can be highly damaging to your body. An uncomfortable setup can cause many different kinds of aches. After working for multiple hours, you may feel your neck getting stiff and your back hurting.
To avoid such a situation, you must pay attention to the ergonomics of your home office. Many different accessories are needed to buy the perfect office. Suppose you ensure that each one adds to your working experience and is comfortable. In that case, your work-from-home experience can be elevated immensely. Additionally, you will also find yourself much more motivated and productive.
What Are Ergonomics?
Ergonomic means being the right fit. An ergonomic setup is a setup that is tailored to you and your needs so that you are incredibly comfortable as you work. Research has shown that an ergonomic setup is excellent at lessening muscle fatigue. When you are less tired and uncomfortable, you can focus better and improve your productivity.
A comfortable environment also reduces the severity of work-related musculoskeletal disorders. These include muscle strain, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lower back injuries. To have an ergonomic setup, you need to fulfill two requirements. The first is to have comfortable equipment that allows you to relax. The second is to have the correct posture.
The correct posture you should employ when working in your home office includes having your feet flat on the floor. When sitting in your office chair, ensure that your thighs are parallel and that your knees are in a 90-degree position. Your elbows should also be in a 90-degree position and close to your body. Ensure that they are hanging comfortably below your shoulder. Your shoulders should also be relaxed and back.
Ergonomic Tips for a Home Office
You can do your work anywhere, even if your desk is cramped and you are uncomfortable in your chair. Still, you won’t be able to deliver to the best of your abilities. Additionally, you may also get problems in various parts of your body. By sitting awkwardly, you strain your muscles and skeleton, which leads to lower back problems, muscle and tendon damage, and more.
Due to these reasons, you should ensure that you have an ergonomic home office that always keeps you comfortable. Here are a few basic tips you can follow to improve the ergonomics of your home office.
1. Head and Neck
When working long hours, the first part of your body that will get tired is your head and neck. To prevent injuries in your neck and back, ensure that your head is vertical to your neck. This position ensures the least strain on your body, reducing the chance of injury.
If you work on a laptop, this can be almost impossible as the screen is often too low to keep your head and neck in a vertical position. In such cases, you should aim to purchase a laptop stand that will raise your laptop, so it is on eye level. This will significantly help make the experience of working on your laptop comfortable.
If you mount your laptop on a stand, you will also need to invest in an external keyboard and a mouse.
2. Hand and Wrist Position
When working on a computer or laptop, your hands and wrists should stay neutral, and your elbows should be 90 degrees and hang near your body. Ensure that you extend your arm and that your hand, wrist, and forearm are placed against your surface. Do not hinge your hand at the wrist, as it will cause pain if you work long hours.
Professionals suggest that your arms and wrist should be straight and not bend to the side or across the midline of your body. You will need to adjust your setup to ensure that your hands and wrists are in the correct position. Changing the chair’s height and distance from the keyboard to your hand can help improve the ergonomics of your setup.
3. Seated Posture and Back Support
Having lower back support as you work is essential. Ensure that you set it in a way that your lower back is supported. To have good back support when you sit, buy an ergonomic home office chair. It is not necessary to purchase the most expensive office chair. Instead, you can invest in a chair cushion that will support your lower back.
You can also look into purchasing orthopedic seats, as they are designed to tilt your pelvis in a more ergonomic position. If you are short, ensure your desk chair is adjustable, or you could also invest in a footrest to improve your posture.
4. Ensure You Have Sufficient Leg Room
You should make legroom a priority when setting up your home office. Ensure that your desk has plenty of space underneath it for your thighs, feet, and knees. Try not to sit in front of drawers and cabinets, as they can cramp your legs. Having sufficient leg room allows you to stretch out your legs from time to time, so they do not get stiff.
5. Follow the 20-20-20 rule
When you work at your computer for too long, your eyes may get tired. To help your eyes relax and prevent them from straining and causing you a headache, you should follow the 20-20-20 rule. According to this rule, for every 20 minutes you spend looking at your screen, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
The change of focus helps your eye relax from the position it was fixed at for so long. This rule can significantly increase your productivity as you feel less tired and can work more.
6. Get Support on Your Couch
Most people like to work on their couches. Still, when sitting on a soft surface, it is difficult to stay in an upright position with your back fully supported. Many people tend to slump, which causes strain on their lower back. In such cases, you should place a cushion or a rolled-up towel at the base of your spine. This helps provide you with the extra support you need. You should also raise the laptop to a suitable height so that it is at eye level. You can prop it on a few books.
7. Make Your Phone Hands-Free
When working from home, your phone helps you stay connected to the office, which is why it is essential that you have it at hand at all times. When talking on a phone for extended periods, you may get a stiff neck from having your arms and head in an awkward position. To avoid such a situation, place your phone on a table and enable speaker mode. You can also use speaker mode or connect your phone to a wired or wireless headset.
If you tend to use a tablet, a tablet stand is an excellent piece of equipment to avoid tiring your hands from carrying it.
Equipment for Your Ergonomic Home Office
When working from your home office, having the right equipment in your home office can make the experience so much better. Most people emphasize the importance of having the proper posture. However, having the correct equipment and furniture can also enhance the ergonomics of your office and make working in it an enjoyable experience.
Here are a few items that you can purchase to make your home office more ergonomic.
1. A Comfortable Chair
Having a comfortable and ergonomic desk chair for your home office is essential. When you sit on your office chair, ensure that there are no gaps between your spine and the chair. Your chair should support the natural s-curve of your back. Investing in a good ergonomic chair is a game changer.
A good desk chair is adjustable from multiple points. This means you can change the height of the chair, the headrest, and the armrest. Such chairs make it so you can customize it to your unique needs. Additionally, ensure that the chair you purchase supports your back from multiple points. Otherwise, it may cause strain on the unsupported part.
2. A Desk at the Proper Height
Having an ergonomic desk that is of the correct height is essential. Experts suggest that your arms and wrists should be neutral when you type. This is when your arms are parallel to the floor and can also be angled toward your lap. These two positions are the most comfortable for reducing strain.
Usually, desks are between 20 to 30 inches in height, which is perfect for those who are 5 feet and 10 inches or taller. This means that most desks are too high for shorter people, and they cannot keep their arms parallel to the ground. This situation can be fixed by purchasing an adjustable desk.
An automotive standing desk is perhaps the best option because they are versatile. Such desks are designed to change their height with the click of a button so that you can sit comfortably. Such desks also allow you to use them while standing, which also helps improve your posture.
Standing desks force you to stand as you work, which means that you remain active and straight, which puts less strain on your back.
3. An Ergonomic Keyboard
Having an ergonomic keyboard is a must for an ergonomic home office setup. When choosing a keyboard, ensure that it either has a low and flat profile or one that tilts forward. This means the space key is higher than the topmost row of keys. Such keyboards are the most comfortable to use as they ensure that your arms remain in a neutral position and that your wrists are also not hanging off the edge.
If you want an extremely ergonomic keyboard, opt for a fully slit one. These allow you to space each half of the keyboard. You can place them so that your hands are shoulder-width apart. This stance is the most comfortable as your shoulders are relaxed, which puts less strain on your back.
You can also purchase a partially split keyboard with no number pad. This makes the keyboard more compact so that you can place the mouse closer. Such a position also reduces the constant extension, meaning you can reduce stress on your arms.
4. A Mouse
An ergonomic setup needs a mouse that fits your hand. A standard mouse or a touchpad can stress the muscles on your fingers and wrists, which is why you can experience fatigue and pain. It is best to purchase a mouse with a comfortable grip and smooth to maneuver.
If you don’t have a mouse or your current mouse causes pain or fatigue, ensure that you purchase one that reduces fine wrist movements, such as a trackball. When purchasing, test it out and see if it allows you to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
5. Adjustable Laptop Stand
Most people prefer working on a laptop because of how versatile and portable the device is. Still, it can cause back pain because the screen is usually relatively low. To solve this problem, you can use a laptop stand, which allows you to raise the laptop to your eye level. That way, instead of bending forward, you can straighten out your posture so that you are staring straight ahead.
When you purchase a laptop stand, ensure that you consider its adjustability. It should ideally be able to move to any height, so you can adjust to where it feels most comfortable. Also, ensure that it is sturdy and can bear the weight of your laptop.
6. Adjustable Footrest
When working at your desk, you must be able to rest your feet flat on the floor, but if you are short, that may be difficult. In this case, look into purchasing a footrest. This ergonomic device is usually made using foam material and allows you to rest your feet comfortably.
When purchasing a footrest, ensure that it is soft, meaning it is covered with a comfortable material like soft velvet. It should also have a detachable base because this feature will allow you to adjust its height so you can customize it to your needs.
Most footrests are highly versatile and can be used for various purposes. You can flip it over and use it as a rocker, and you can also use it as knee support when you’re lying in bed or on a couch.
7. Lumbar Support Pillow
When sitting in a desk chair, most people tend to slouch, and it worsens when their chair does not offer ample support. Such a position can cause lower back pain. To avoid it, you can purchase a lumbar support pillow. This pillow is excellent at increasing your lower back’s support.
Most lumbar support pillows are made using durable foam. Ensure that the one you purchase is machine washable and should have a heavy-duty strap that can hold it against the back of your desk chair.
8. A Display at a Comfortable Height
For proper ergonomics in your office, your monitor must be at the perfect height. You should not be looking down or up when you work. Professionals advise you to always look forward and keep your neck and head perpendicular.
When purchasing a monitor, ensure that its height can be adjusted. You can also look for one that can be mounted on an arm so that you can adjust the height and angle at what feels most comfortable to you.
9. Desk Lamp
A desk lamp is an ergonomic home office essential. Good lighting improves your mood and prevents your eyes from getting strained. One cannot always rely on natural lightning because it varies throughout the day. A desk lamp for your home office really stabilizes the lighting, so your eyes don’t have to keep adjusting to the changing lighting.
Additionally, desk lamps come in various tones, brightness, and bulb type. When purchasing a desk lamp, ensure that you purchase one that fits your needs the best.
10. Anti-Fatigue Mat
An anti-fatigue mat is designed for those who spend hours working at a standing desk. This mat makes standing in one place a lot more comfortable. They are made using a thick layer of high-density foam that helps reduce the discomfort you feel in your legs and feet when you stand for extended periods.
Pros and Cons of an Ergonomic Home Office
|It can help increase productivity.||It is expensive to purchase items separately.|
|It makes the space extremely comfortable.||It takes a lot of trial and error to find the best fit for you.|
|It reduces back and wrist pain.||
1. What are three good ergonomic practices for working in a home office?
When working in a home office, first ensure that you do not hunch over your laptop when you work. Instead, bring it up to your eye level. Second, don’t let your feet dangle; ensure they are always flat on the ground. You can use a footrest for this. Third, you should follow the 20-20-20 rule, which states that after 20 minutes of working, you should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
2. What do you need to make your home office more ergonomic?
To improve the ergonomics of your office, you can invest in a laptop stand, an ergonomic mouse, an ergonomic desk chair, an anti-fatigue mat, a desk lamp, and more.
3. How can I make my home office more comfortable?
Invest in an extra comfortable chair that supports your back from multiple points to ensure you are comfortable as you work. You should also get a desk lamp that provides plenty of light as you work. Keeping your space tidy can also help you feel more comfortable.
Having an ergonomic office means that you will be more inclined to work in your office because you feel comfortable and productive. Due to this, all the items in your office must cater to you and your needs. When purchasing items, ensure that you pick ones designed to provide comfort. Always choose things that allow you to sit in the correct posture and are fit for your height. That way, you will end up with a comfortable and ergonomic set