Setting up your home office
The world has moved to a reality where many people are working from home and social distancing measures require a new normal. Sometimes, the space within our homes is limited and the dining room table or kitchen counter becomes part of our home workstation.
The desk and chair you are using may not have the adjustability needed to provide a suitable work environment. Investing in the correct home office setup presents a challenging problem, and at Ergonomicsdirect we are here to help!
When setting up your home-work environment, remember to implement the basic ergonomics principles:
- Start from the ground up
Adjust the chair or seat height so that your thighs are approximately parallel to the floor, with your feet resting flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. The seat pan should not compress the back of your thighs. Adjust the seat back – the lower back (lumbar area) and mid-back should be well supported. Next, ensure that you’re leaning slightly back into the seat, just past the 90-degree mark. Adjust the seat’s back height, angle and tilt tension accordingly and sit back in the chair.
2. Keyboard, elbows, and wrists
Ensure that your keyboard is at elbow height for a sitting or standing workstation. Forearms should be approximately parallel to the floor –adjust the height of your chair and/or desk accordingly. Your wrists must be straight and your hands in line with your forearms. Keep your elbows close to your sides – adjust the arm rests on the chair so that the weight of your forearms rest on the arm rests. Avoid hunching your shoulders forward. Position your frequently-used materials and equipment close to the front of your body to avoid twisting and reaching.
3. Keep your chin up!
Reduce the awkward postures of your head and neck, by placing the top of the monitor at or slightly above eye level while seated or standing. Ensure that the monitor is placed about an arm’s length away from your eyes. Dual monitors should be located close together and at the same height and distance so that your eyes do not have to re-focus and your head does not turn significantly when looking between the monitors. If a laptop is being used, a laptop stand, external keyboard and mouse is essential to obtain the above setup correctly.
4. Break Time – Move it!
Reduce eye strain by taking frequent micro-breaks by looking away from the screen. Incorporate stretch breaks and changes in your posture throughout the day. Schedule work and strategically place peripherals so that prolonged seated posture can be avoided (like placing the printer in another room that would necessitate a micro-break to get up and walk).
5. Shed some light on the situation
Ensure good task lighting when working on printed materials, and focused, diffused light for computer work. If the monitor is placed next to a window, the window should have a covering that prevents direct light on the monitor screen, or the monitor should be placed at a right angle to the window. Glare will cause eye fatigue and dryness. Adjust the tilt of the laptop screen to minimize screen glare.
Yours in ergonomics