CREATING A LONGER TERM HOME OFFICE
Your home office is going to be your usual working environment for some time to come. With this, comes the need to create a comfortable home office. Many will have purchased or started to consider purchasing new office equipment. It can be difficult to know what you need. Have you considered that what you do e.g. how much you move around or how you position yourself as you take a call can also have a huge impact on how your body feels?
UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR HOME OFFICE
Many companies have indicated that employees will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future and are providing reimbursements to cater to this. When purchasing ergonomic furniture and equipment, remember that how this equipment is set up and used is key. An ergonomic chair alone, for example, may not prevent pain. The user needs to understand the functions of the chair. The chair also needs to be set up for their individual requirements. Furthermore, the users’ posture and habits while using the chair have a big impact. As an employer, it is valuable to consider this in determining the best way to address the needs of employees who are working from home. Education on how to set up equipment alongside behavioral tips can make a big difference to a worker’s comfort.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR HOME OFFICE
Start off with the basics! When purchasing a chair, check that the height is adjustable. This is important as we want our feet to be flat on the floor or a stable surface as we work. If you chose a chair with armrests – check that these are also adjustable, this is important to ensure you can work with your arms at elbow height. Lumbar support for the natural curve at your lower back is also important while sitting. Take note of the seat width and seat pan, ideally, a small gap on either side of you and a gap at the back of your knees will be most comfortable as you work.
Where possible use a desk that has a straight edge, and space underneath i.e. no under desk drawers. This is important to allow space for your legs. Ensure that your desk has enough space for your keyboard and mouse to be placed directly in front of your screen. Your desk height is correct if your shoulders are relaxed, elbows are close to your body and at 90 degrees when your hands land on your keyboard.
MONITOR OR SCREEN
Your screen needs to be placed where you are comfortable looking at the top one-third of the screen when looking straight ahead. If using a laptop, purchasing a laptop riser as an alternative to a temporary fix such as a box or stack of books is an option. If you need to use more than one screen, ensure that they are at the same height. Monitor risers or monitor arms are options to increase the height of your monitor if necessary for you. Place your monitor one arms length away from you.
KEYBOARD AND MOUSE
There really is a huge range of keyboards and mice available for purchase. If you are experiencing hand, wrist, or elbow discomfort, it could be due to how you are using this equipment. In this scenario, ergonomic options may be useful. Ensure that whatever equipment you are using, you keep it close to your body. Your equipment should be placed to allow you to work with the elbows at 90 degrees and wrists straight.
Our behaviors and habits are a big factor in how we feel as we work. Take frequent breaks. Aim to briefly change your posture every 30 minutes. Consider changing up repetitive activities e.g. switching your mousing hand for durations.
Symptoms such as wrist pain or neck pain can be a quick and simple fix either requiring a change in behavior or in equipment. An Ergonomics Consultant can help you identify this. At Fit For Work we offer a virtual evaluation option. An online ergonomic self-assessment is also a useful way to identify what you need.
ERGONOMICS SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMPANY
Fit For Work provide a range of ergonomics services which are suitable for those working from home/remotely or those who are office based. To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.