The work atmosphere for many has changed over the last few months, many who spend their days working in an office are now working from home. This means that the highly dialed-in ergonomic environment we’ve have created at work to improve comfort and posture is out of reach. Meanwhile, we’re draped over the arm of the couches answering emails.
Since it’s unsure when these work from home orders will end for many of us, it is important to consider home office ergonomics.
What is ergonomics?
Ergonomics: is the study of efficiency in one’s work environment.
Why do ergonomics matter?
Not only will ergonomics help increase efficiency, but it will also improve safety. Creating the appropriate environment to work will reduce injury, relieve pain, improve efficiency, and curb your stress level. Also, consider the simple fact that you want to be comfortable! Who knows how long you may be working from home? Some may be hoping to make it permanent – so why not create the ideal situation.
How to evaluate home office ergonomics:
There are a few key factors to achieving the proper home office ergonomics.
Evaluate the following areas to create the ideal home office:
- Head and neck
Be sure to create the least amount of strain on your neck as possible. Generally, the height and angle of your computer screen have the greatest influence on the position of your head and neck. Be sure that your screen is centered on your desk and positioned in line with your eyes to reduce strain.
- Hand and wrist
Much of the pain people experience during office work is in their hands and wrists. Be sure that both hands and wrists are in a neutral position. Your arm should lay flat on your table or desk, and you want your hands and wrists to be flush with each other. You do not want to reach for any of your equipment, so the ideal position for your mouse and keyboard will be next to one another.
- Posture and support
Poor posture can lead to severe back pain, headaches, neck pain, and more ailments that are all avoidable. Be sure to sit back fully with feet flat on the floor and that the back of your knees do not hit the seat. If your chair is lacking lumbar support, you can use a pillow or a towel to add more.
This aspect doesn’t have much to do with your set up as much as it does your routine. You want to be sure to take frequent breaks, stand up and walk around, to help reduce the health issues related to sitting all day. Ideally, you should stand up every 30 minutes to stretch for five minutes.
How to improve home office ergonomics:
Evaluate your current situation:
- Do you have a designated workspace?
If you do not have a designated workspace, find a quiet, space to set up a workstation. Allowing yourself to sit on the couch or on the floor will lead to discomfort and decrease productivity.
- What equipment are you using?
Take an inventory of the equipment you will be using daily; keyboard, mouse, laptop, desktop, sketchpad, etc. Having all the equipment in one place will improve efficiency but it will also help you set up your ideal workspace.
- How does it affect your posture?
Once you have your workspace set up, sit at it and take a few pictures. If you take a picture from each side of the workstation, you can evaluate how each element works together and affects your posture.
- What changes can be made?
Use your photos to evaluate all the key aspects of an ergonomic workspace and adjust each piece of equipment.
If you need more tips for assessing your workstation, review this video from Pitt School of Health and Rehab Sciences.
Standing desks can also help improve the ergonomics of your home office, and can eliminate the risks of sitting all day. You can read more about standup desks in our recent article: The Benefits of Using a Standup Desk
Don’t neglect office ergonomics just because you’re working from home. Use these tips to create a home office that promotes both efficiency and comfort that will increase your productivity.
If your home office situation is leaving you in pain, we’re open!
Call today to schedule an adjustment –