Most people spend around 90,000 hours of their life at work. And if you have been working remotely since March, you have likely spent at least 1,600 hours working from home. That is a long time. And while most offices have reasonably good ergonomic setups, the same cannot be said for home working. When we started working from home in March, we had no idea it would last more than a few weeks. And yet, 8 months in, we may well be working from the kitchen table for a while yet.
There are common issues that a lot of people have when working from home. Nearly three-quarters of remote workers do not have proper lumbar support, while more than half have their screens in the wrong position. Over 1,600 hours, that can cause serious health issues, from carpal tunnel syndrome to chronic back pain, that can be easily avoided with proper equipment preparation.
So, what can you do to improve your home working setup from an ergonomic perspective?
Tip #1 – Get A Proper Chair That Gives Support
While a dining chair may be fine for a couple of hours, over time it will become very uncomfortable due to a lack of back, neck and lumbar support. You should be able to sit back in your chair with suitable support for your lower back and your feet flat on the floor. A purpose-designed office chair, such as the Chiro Plus or the Mirage, will offer appropriate support, allowing you to sit for extended periods without developing back or neck issues.
Tip #2 – Your Desk Needs To Be The Correct Height
Just as a dining chair seems OK, a dining table or worktop can also seem fine for short term use. And it might be if the height is correct (around 740mm) and it has enough depth. However, a proper desk will ensure optimal ergonomics for long-term working, and a workstation such as the Drop or Box offers a unique solution if you are short on space. For the ultimate ergonomic solution, a height-adjustable workstation such as the i-Stand or the Alto desk will provide the comfort that you need to stay productive!
Tip #3 –Make Sure Your Monitor Is At The Proper Angle
The main reason why working on a sofa is a bad idea (comfy as it is) is that your neck is at a poor angle, and this can also be true when operating from worktops or kitchen tables. Your screen should be at about arm’s length away, and the top should be level with your eyes. A great way to achieve this is either a laptop-stand or a monitor arm such as the Kardo.
Tip #4 –Use An Ergonomic Keyboard & Mouse
A separate keyboard and mouse are essential to achieving a natural body position, as nearly all laptop keyboards are too narrow, and will cause elbow and wrist problems over time. Ergonomic gaming mice such as the Pro Click can also be beneficial, as they work better with your natural wrist motion. When your keyboard and mouse (and desk) are set up correctly, your shoulders should sit at a natural height, with your elbows and forearms at the same height as the desk and shoulder-width apart.
Tip #5 – Proper Lighting Is Very Important
While not strictly ergonomic, the lighting of your workspace is very important to get right. Bad lighting is associated with a range of ill-health effects from eye strain to stress and is bad for morale and productivity. Natural light is always best, and if possible, you should face a window so that the light is not on your screen. If this is not available, then cool, gentle lighting is beneficial. A task light such as our Nova light allows you to seamlessly adjust the luminosity of the light to your personal preference.
With the current situation, we are likely to be working from home for several months yet, and it is likely to remain part of our lives (at least some of the time) in the future. An ergonomic working setup, even if you do not have a dedicated workspace, can go a long way to boosting your wellbeing, performance and productivity throughout these challenging times.
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