Working from Home in an Ergonomic, Healthy Way
Working from home has always been attractive to many but not always feasible for all. That all changed last year when the world took a hit in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that came the ‘new normal’ for the workforce that saw a huge rise in remote work. It’s clear that these new norms aren’t changing anytime soon.
Remote work is great, but it’s not without its problems. While "home is where the heart is", it isn't always where work can be done comfortably.
You may be surprised, but a dining table and an office table and desk are quite different. If you're going to succeed at your remote work, you must do it ergonomically and healthily. Forcing yourself to work in a space not meant for work can cause you to burn out get physically hurt.
Setting Up an Ergonomically Correct Home Office
We've got a few tips that will help you stay healthy and comfortable while working from home, including:
Get a supportive chair
The perfect chair is one that supports the natural curve of your spine. Also, when you sit on it, your feet must be on the floor and your knees below your hips. An adjustable office chair with a few extras that support your individual needs is exactly what you need.
An ergonomic chair will help support your lumbar and allow you sit without pain for longer than your dinning chair. If you have a height adjustable desk a sit stand chair can help you change you position more throughout the day.
Be sure to find a comfortable desk
A comfortable desk is one that lets you keep your neck straight and not hunched over when you're on the computer. Here, you’re more concerned with your knees, thighs, and feet and how they fit under the table.
Next is your elbows. They should be at the same height as your keyboard and mouse when you place them on the desk.
Optimize your workstation
Once you’ve figured out seating arrangements, next is to work on the actual workstation comprising of your computer and other gadgets. Laptops are not very convenient for long term use in a remote setting.
But don't just throw out your laptop yet, you can pull it off with a few tricks – get an external mouse and keyboard for your computer.
Two things are key here: the accessory and placement. Even the most ergonomically correct mouse or keyboard is limited in how much it can help you if you place it incorrectly. However, getting the right one is a step in the right direction.
Ergonomic mice and keyboards are increasingly becoming an important part of workplace health and comfort. Long gone are the days of the standard mouse! There is the vertical mouse, that keeps your arm in an upright, neutral position; specialty ergonomic mice for more unique requirements; left-handed mice and bar mice to name a few. Ergonomic mice can greatly reduce the likelihood of developing repeated strain injuries or arm/wrist tension due to extended computer use.
Ergonomic keyboards work in harmony with your environment and your typing needs. Rarely use your number pad? Why not use a compact keyboard, which keeps your arms streamlined and reduces arm tension. Need something a little more tailored to your needs? Try our specialty keyboards.
Make your desk a better place to work.
Ensure your monitors are at eye level or just slightly below. That way, you don't have to bend your neck up or down.
As for your keyboard, elbow height works great, but it doesn't end there. Distance also matters. The keyboard shouldn't be too far, it shouldn't be too close, do it the Goldilocks way and keep it just right. It should be close enough that your elbows hang naturally by your side when typing.
For the mouse, keep it near the keyboard by your dominant hand. You shouldn't have to reach to get your mouse.
Remember a keyboard rest and a mouse pad increase functionality and ergonomics. Don't skimp out on them.
Simple tips that can help you maximize your new home office –
- Your couch is for relaxing, it’s not your workstation.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eye strain. For every 20 minutes you stare at your computer, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Stand up and walk around as often as you can.
Do all these and your whole body will thank you.