With the rapid and continue increase in working from home, which is undoubtedly here to stay, we thought it would be a good time to share some helpful advice on how best to create a healthy and productive home working environment, whatever your circumstances, space, or limitations.
Ergonomics is all about your performance through good design whilst keeping you safe, healthy, and productive. So, a good way of looking at it is by taking a birds eye view of the space you have and how you work in it. Identify what is working for you, and what’s not on a day to day basis. By uncovering the importance of ergonomics, it’s aim is to provide support for your body and therefore make you much more comfortable, reducing the risk of health issues.
Let’s start with the chair and work our way through the whole workspace.
Your Chair – The King Of The Workspace
This is the most important piece of equipment you will buy. Our bodies are not designed to be in a sedentary position for around 1/3 of the day. Our limbs, spine and neck are all intrinsically linked and large amounts of time spent static, in one position, can cause pain and strain on the neck and discs, circulatory problems and muscle degeneration. Even weakened bones.
Your chair needs to support you and crucially you need a chair that fits you properly. It needs important key features of adjustment: seat height, seat depth, seat angle tilt, back height and angle adjustment that is lockable, adjustable armrests, and the all-important adjustable lumbar support. All of these should be dynamic adjustments with movement and positioning capabilities which can be tailored to your exact, changing needs. They should be within reach; you need to be able to make the adjustments whilst you are seated. You should be able to move constantly, and be seamlessly supported while mobile in your ergonomic chair, all day.
Your Desk – The Queen of Organisation
Next consider your desk or table. The standard height of a desk in the UK is 725mm. This was correlated (some time ago and rather archaic!) to the seated elbow height of a 6’2” person. As we are all different shapes, heights, and sizes, you need to set yourself up to your requirements, and this is easy; place your hands in your lap. Your work desk should meet your natural elbow position.
To achieve this the easiest option is to adjust the seat height of you chair. Use a footrest if necessary. Changing to a height adjustable desk can be beneficial, although a more costly option. Standing desks can improve the quality of your working life, when used correctly. A height adjustable desk allows you the option of switching from sitting to standing position in an instant. This increases mobility and activity throughout the day. Whether you sit or stand to work the desktop height should be at your elbow position.
Find more tips here from the NHS on how to sit correctly.
Your Monitor – It’s All About Positioning
Positioning your monitor or laptop at eye level or just below is recommended. Use a height and angle adjustable stand or monitor arm really helps to give smooth and effortless adjustment, encourages better head and neck posture, and reduces lower neck, eye, and back strain. There are specifically ergonomic monitors available, however you can get away with using a normal monitor but ensuring the positioning of it meets the requirements so it doesn’t cause eye strain or incorrect posture.
Move, Move, Move….
We’re sure it goes without saying, but as you set up your workspace with better, ergonomically designed equipment, prioritise your movement. This is key in conjunction with all of the above. You need to properly allow your body the chance to move throughout the day, so it’s not settled in one position for a long period of time. If you don’t have a large space to work from, try to get creative. You need to create a space where you can work better, stay healthy, and perform.
It’s really that simple, although some pieces of equipment can be on the expensive side of things, you don’t have to compromise on your wallet or your comfort. A well designed workplace, or office space, will undoubtedly create a positive difference in the attitude of workers while maintaining a good work environment and atmosphere.