With the rapid increase in working from home in the past six months, we thought it would be a good time for us to share some helpful advice on how best to create a healthy and productive home working environment, whatever your circumstances or space limitations.
Ergonomics is all about enhancing your performance through good design whilst also keeping you safe and healthy. What this means is that you need to take a bird’s eye view of the space you now find yourself working in and identify what is working and what’s not working. This is something that shouldn’t only be done on the onset of change (cue the whole world working from home) but on a continuous basis.
You don’t need to evaluate your workspace every day to an inch of its life, but you should certainly be considering how you generally feel day-to-day. Listening to your body, really listening to it, takes a commitment of time and energy. It takes real effort to consider how your health and wellbeing is being impacted by your surroundings, your workload, the content you consume and the equipment you are using.
Over the last few months, people everywhere have had to change where they do their work and how they do their work. Small changes have been happening everywhere. The use of ironing boards as standing workstations, stacks of books to raise screens and cushions to offer some lumbar support. At the beginning of the transition to working from home, these steps were important to take as a compromise to allow many of us to work from home without hurting ourselves.Setting up your home office
The reality of the period we are living in right now though is that we are now spending a lot more time at home than we first envisioned and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Even if businesses start bringing people back to the workplace, there will still be a large proportion of people at home or people who would like to remain working from home for some of the week going forward. This means that these creative and ad hoc changes made to our home setups at the beginning may now not be the best solution.
As mentioned earlier, we need to be continually improving how we work because things change all the time. The more prepared we are to make those changes with the knowledge we have, the better we can manage those changes. It’s important now to consider how you make some of those creative hacks more permanent changes by implementing the right equipment that has been specifically designed for a purpose.The chair
Let’s start with the chair and work our way through the whole workspace. For a chair to support you and fit you properly there are some key features you need to consider: height adjustment, good seat depth, lockable back with lumbar support, adjustable armrests and dynamic chair adjustment allowing you to move in the chair whilst being supported.
If this sounds good to you then why not try the Sway chair from Dams. The ergonomically designed Sway chair is all about encouraging movement, with a unique dynamic mechanism that allows for side-to-side movement, which helps users with twisting into unnatural positions to grab something that is just out of reach. The chair is also kitted out with all the features and benefits you would expect to have in a performance chair, with a modern look and design that wouldn’t look out of place in any home environment.The desk
You then want to consider your desk or table. The standard desk height is 725mm and this correlates to the seated elbow height of a 6’2’’ male. Due to this, you’d want to make sure that you can set yourself up so that when your hands are in your lap, the worktop meets your natural elbow position. You can do this by adjusting your chair height and using a footrest for additional support or adjusting the table height. The desktop should be at around elbow height in a seated and standing position.
Ensure the space you dedicate for your home office has everything you need to function optimally during your working day. If you need a space big enough for a printer and a laptop, make sure the desk you buy is sufficient enough to house both comfortably so that you are not cramped whilst working. There are many workstation options available from Dams for use in open or in limited spaces, to ensure your space looks and feels as professional as possible and keep it organised and tidy.The monitor
Lastly, positioning your laptop or monitor at eye level or just below is recommended. If you are only using a laptop, then sourcing a height and angle adjustable laptop stand is important. This will encourage a better head and neck posture and also encourage you to sit right back in the chair gaining the full support of the backrest. Laptop screens are pretty small these days and so attaching an external monitor which is larger in size might be of more benefit.
If you have 1 or even 2 monitor screens, you may want to consider the Triton monitor arm from Dams. Triton monitor arms provide smooth and effortless adjustments which can be tailored to the user’s exact needs, allowing you to sit more comfortably at your home office desk whilst reducing lower neck pain, eye, and back strain due to incorrect monitor positions.In summary
Start by identifying any pain points in your normal working day and start to make changes from there. Implement a really good ergonomic chair. The more you can spend, the longer it will last and the better quality it is. Consider the table or desk you’re working from. How much space do you have and what height it is. The most basic thing you can do to achieve better posture is get yourself a laptop stand, and a separate keyboard and mouse.
Keep your keyboard and mouse close. If you want to minimise aches and pains, identify the right keyboard and mouse for your stature, hand size, and tasks. Lastly, position your monitor or laptop at eye level or just below and keep them about an arm’s length away when you are sat back in your chair comfortably.
I’m sure this goes without saying but as you look to set up your workspace with better equipment and identify the changes you need to make, make sure that movement is also a priority. Creating a space where you design issues out and therefore can work with better health and performance is vital, but it only works if you allow your body the chance to move throughout the day.