Many of us are now working from home due to the pandemic, an environment that for a lot of us hasn’t ever been used as a workspace. Therefore, this space hasn’t ever been set up ergonomically or technologically for our best benefit.
In an office, there are usually health and safety measures and specific office equipment used to keep employees safe and injury-free. How do we do that for ourselves when working remotely or in a home office? Below are a few essential home office items to consider when creating an ergonomic workspace for yourself.
The desk you work from needs to fit your legs underneath properly with room for your knees to move freely. It’s also important to keep the space under your desk clear of clutter so that your legs aren’t put into stressful or uncomfortable positions or positions that limit movement.
Monitors and laptops
If you have more than one monitor, position them for optimal ergonomic comfort. If you have two different screen levels, such as a laptop and a monitor, make adjustments to make them both eye level. You can use risers to add height to laptops to help with this.
Try to keep the screen you will use the most in front of you with the second screen as close to the side of the main unit as possible. The screen should be an arm’s length away from you to prevent eye strain and injury.
The right chair with back support
Making sure you have a comfortable chair that offers back support is especially important when setting up an ergonomic workspace. You can cause long-term injury to your back and neck if you fail to hold the correct posture for long periods of time.
Choosing a chair with castors means you can move freely when needed without having to lift the chair and bend every time you need to move. Your feet should be able to be placed flat on the floor, so buying a chair that can be lowered is a good option. Additional lumbar support can be added to the base of the chair to ensure it follows the curves in your spine, to maintain your posture while working for long periods of time.
Your keyboard and mouse should be in front of you in a position that allows your wrists and hands to be neutral. Try to keep them bothas straight as you can while working. Your mouse should be on the same surface as your keyboard and your hands should sit slightly below your elbows for the optimum ergonomic setup.
Even after you have set up your workspace to be ergonomically sound, sitting for long periods is still an unnatural position to be in for long periods of time. A good tip is to try and move at least once each hour. Stretching at your desk, and while on your breaks, will help to minimise the risk of strain and injury.