There has been a 44% rise in the number of people working remotely over the last five years. This means more people are working from home, making the need for ergonomic office space even more necessary.
Working from your dining room table might be okay every now and again, but it’s not a long-term solution.
Not having a designated office or workspace can greatly impact your health and quality of work. Choosing the right equipment, or utilizing what you already have, is essential when setting up an office so you can enjoy a positive working environment.
This guide covers everything you need to know about creating the perfect, ergonomic office at home.
Choose the Right Chair for your Ergonomic Office
When choosing an office chair (or assessing the one you already own), your primary concern is posture. The right desk chair needs to support your entire body from your head to your feet. You spend a lot of time sitting down, so it’s worth taking the time to fix or choose a new chair.
This is the correct posture for working at a desk on a computer:
- Feet parallel and flat on the floor
- Thighs parallel and knees at a 90-degree angle
- Lower arms supported at a 90-degree angle.
- Back straight and completely supported
- Shoulders relaxed
- Head completely straight forward
A good office chair should have an adjustable height, adjustable armrests, and offer full back support. To be fully ergonomic, your desk chair should be able to tilt or recline so your back is always completely supported as you move.
There are ways to can improvise with the chair you already have. If your chair doesn’t have adequate lumbar support for your lower back, you can use a cushion or rolled-up towel. And if your chair doesn’t have armrests, make sure it can at least hold your arms at 90-degrees.
Select the Ideal Desk
To achieve the best ergonomic office, ideally, you would have an adjustable desk. Yes, it’s not just office chairs that can be modified, desks can too!
Having a desk with an adjustable height is beneficial regardless of whether you like standing or sitting at a desk. The ideal desk height for sitting is between 25 and 30 inches. But ultimately, you need a desk height that supports your posture as described above.
If you can’t have your feet flat on the ground with your current desk, then it’s not an ergonomic desk. You should consider replacing or modifying it.
As well as posture, you need to think about what kind of desk suits your style of working. For example, architects use drafting tables and graphic designers need room for multiple monitors. But what kind of desk suits your work?
And you need to have everything important within easy reach.
Adjust Your Monitor and Computer Equipment
As with choosing a desk and a desk chair, the ideal computer equipment ultimately supports your posture and therefore your long term health.
Most people who need an at-home ergonomic office work at a computer or laptop. In which case, you might need to invest in some additional equipment for your home office to make it ergonomic and fit your needs.
The top of your computer monitor should be parallel with your line of sight. This will prevent you from looking up or down for too long and straining your neck. The top of the monitor should also be around 18 to 24 inches away from your eyes.
If you have a laptop, you might need to raise your laptop with a stand or a DIY option like a pile of books.
Also, consider adjusting the light on your monitor if you experience eye strain.
Keyboard and Mouse
By putting your laptop on a stand, you may need a second keyboard and mouse so you can keep your arms at a 90-degree angle. Having an ergonomic moveable keyboard and mouse will also help keep your hands and wrists in a natural position.
This will mean you’re less likely to develop typing-related injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
If you work in video editing or another field where you need to have low lights for substantial periods of time, a backlit keyboard could be a good idea. It will help lessen eye strain.
Fix Your Surroundings in your Ergonomic Office
Your workspace and posture are the most important things to focus on when creating an ergonomic office. But here are some more ergonomic tips and things to adjust when building your ideal workspace:
- Temperature – Buy a heater or fan if your office is too hot or cold
- Light – Move away from window glare and avoid eye strain
- Clothes – Wear comfortable, professional clothes
- Smells – Use diffusers or candles to remove foul odors
- Decor – Plants and motivational quotes could brighten your mood
- Noise – Consider noise-canceling headphones if you work in a noisy place
It’s also beneficial to remove as many distractions as possible. A lot of home offices are make-shift and have a different purpose outside the 9-5. If your office is also a games room or music room, those items might impede your focus.
Bonus Tip: Assess Your Lifestyle
Assessing your lifestyle isn’t going to help you create an ergonomic office, but it is going to improve your overall health and work-life balance. The latter is particularly difficult when you work from home.
Sitting in one position for long periods of time will negatively impact your health. Every 20 minutes, stand up from your desk and stretch your body. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, any movement is great.
And every hour, make yourself a coffee or take a short walk into your backyard or terrace.
Keep a 25-ounce water bottle on your desk to encourage you to hydrate regularly. Eat healthy, light lunches so you go back to your desk feeling refreshed rather than sluggish.
And finally, just because you have a great home office, doesn’t mean you need to spend all day there! If you’re having trouble stepping away from your laptop in the evenings, literally turn it off and put it in a sleeve after your working hours are over.
There’s no point in building an ergonomic office to support your health if you’re going to burn out. Learn to take some well-deserved breaks.
Build An Ergonomic Office Fit For Your Needs
Creating a comfortable, ergonomic office will support your physical health as well as your mental health. Though it might seem like a lot of effort, it’s worth it. Especially if you permanently work from home or will for the foreseeable future.
For more home working tips, check out our other business articles!