Friday, March 12, 2021

Is Working from Home a Pain? Tips on Setting Up an Ergonomic Home Office

Most of us don’t think about ergonomics (ergo-what?) until we start to feel the pain of a workspace set up on the fly or occasionally working from home. But if your work from home situation is long-term, you may start feeling unexpected aches and pains if your workspace isn’t set up right. That’s where ergonomics comes in.

The word sounds kind of fancy, but what it means is workspaces that fit the person who is using them. There is science behind it, but for our purposes, we need to know how to make our work from home spaces more comfortable, whether they are used every once in a while or on a regular basis. Choosing the right home office furniture can save you a world of pain and help you stay focused and productive.

Start with the Right Desk

Working at a real desk makes a big difference, as many who have worked at their dining room table can attest. You may not realize it right away, but working at the dining room table can cause posture problems that result in aching backs, necks, and even wrists.

Your desk should comfortably fit your feet, knees underneath it. You don’t want to bang your knees every time you pull your chair in or squeeze them together to fit them under it. Also, consider the height of your desk, when you are seated, your mouse and keyboard should be at elbow height.

The best way to tell if a desk is at the right height, sit at it, pull your feet under it, and hold your arms comfortably and naturally at your sides. Bend your elbow slightly in front of your body while they are still at your sides. This is the proper height for your work surface.

A good example is this desk with splayed legs and a drop-front drawer that puts the mouse and keyboard at the right height. The ergonomic palm rest keeps your wrists comfortable.

Choose a Comfortable Chair

This sounds obvious but isn’t as easy as it sounds. You may have to try out many desk chairs before you find the right one. This piece of home office furniture plays a key role in enduring your comfort when working at your desk for eight hours a day. A chair without the right support can cause backaches and neck aches that linger for days.

Look for a chair that supports your spine, but remember to sit up straight with your feet on the floor. You’ll know that your chair is the right height when your thighs are parallel to the floor, and your knees are at hip height or close to it. If you need a little extra support for your lower back, add a small pillow.

Set Up Your Computer

And lastly, once you have all your home office furniture set up in your space, set up your monitor, computer or laptop, and mouse correctly. Make sure your monitor is at or just below eye level so that you can hold your neck straight and avoid “tech neck” and the aches that come with it. Try to avoid having direct light shining on your monitor. Instead, keep it to the side for indirect lighting that is less harsh.