The First Steps to Better Ergonomics at Home
Most of us don’t have the luxury of a dedicated office space in our homes – and we end up spending parts of our work days at the kitchen table, on the couch, even with our laptop propped up in bed. It’s relatively harmless for a day, but working like this for longer periods can take a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing.
Here are a few tips on setting up a home workstation that really work.
WELLNESS TIP #1
CREATE A PROPER WORK ENVIRONMENT
Set out a dedicated space where you can replicate your office desk, as much as possible. The kitchen table will do, as long as you have enough space to be in a relaxed position with your screen at the proper height and distance. More on that later.
WELLNESS TIP #2
Hunkering over a laptop for a day is fine – but you really should invest in external devices if you’re going to work from home for any extended period of time. An external screen, mouse, and keyboard will help promote more natural, relaxed postures. Working for long periods of time in an awkward position and with the wrong equipment can lead to fatigue, discomfort and even pain.
WELLNESS TIP #3
CHAIR-ING IS CARING
The normal dining room chair is meant to be sat on for an hour or so – but if you plan on working for a typical 8-hour workday then investing in a height-adjustable chair with a good lumbar support is critical. Kitchen tables are usually too high for computing. If that’s the only option, you may need to raise your chair (or sit on a cushion) so that the elbow comes at the height of the keyboard. If your heels are not firmly on the floor, use a footrest or a few books underneath.
WELLNESS TIP #4
STAY OFF THE COUCH
First off, it’s important to create boundaries in your work from home environment. Try to keep your workstation for working and your couch for relaxing. Ergonomically-speaking modern couches are too deep and too low. You will soon be slouching, with tension in the neck and the lower back. If you work with your laptop on your knees your neck will hurt after a short period of time.
WELLNESS TIP #5
TAKE A DEEP BREATH – OF FRESH AIR
Working from home takes some getting used to, and your first few days might not be as productive and comfortable as you’d like them to be. That’s ok, there’s an adjustment period for everyone. And one of the biggest keys to making work from home work for you is building in breaks. So take the extra 15 minutes to drink your coffee on the balcony. You’ll be more productive and happy for it.