These uncertain times mean that we must adapt our working practices and we are seeing more and more people working from home (WFH) at the moment, including the UK Ergonomics team. As you might be working from home for a while, why not take the opportunity to get it right, to set up your home-work area correctly for you, once and for all? In our opinion, there’s only one thing you really need!
Working from home can be a risk if the home work-station is not set up correctly. Injury can be caused from just casually sitting down at the kitchen table to work and if we are to be working from home for a prolonged amount of time as is being suggested, it’s worthwhile creating a space at home that really works for you and your body.
The only bit of kit you need
It’s likely that you already have a laptop and mobile phone which are the essentials for short term working but if you take the long view, you could be working from home for a while in which case you need a proper office chair. Yes, a chair can make all the difference.
The most essential piece of office furniture is an ergonomic chair. Everything revolves around how you sit and importantly how your chair supports you. Ergonomic means that it can be adapted to suit your body – your height, spinal curvature, leg length, arm length, where you need support, for example.
We recommend these two chairs:
These will work with your home office desk, kitchen table or whatever you’re using! As well as a desk, chair and technology, bear in mind that there may be other things that you need to make working from home productive such as the right lighting, a foot rest and enough plug sockets for laptop, charger, router and, of course, coffee maker!
How to Sit at your Desk
You know which room is going to be your temporary office, you have your desk, ergonomic chair and everything else you need but now you need to know how to sit, or even stand to work, to avoid injury and ensure well-being.
It must support the spinal curves and be at the right height to allow your feet to rest flat on the floor or a footrest. Your thighs should be parallel with the floor and your knees should be in line you’re your hips. The chair’s armrests should be positioned so that your arms rest loosely on them, allowing your shoulders to be relaxed and not hunched.
The desk is where your laptop or keyboard and monitor will be. Your mouse should be on the same surface too and within easy reach. While typing, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body and your hands, at or just beneath the level of your elbows. Try to swap which hand uses the mouse to avoid repetitive strain injuries.
There should be plenty of room underneath the desk for leg clearance. It shouldn’t feel cramped! If you are not positioned as we’ve set out and you don’t have an adjustable height desk, then adjust your office chair and buy a footrest. If your desk is too low, we’d recommend you buy a new one as building it up with blocks isn’t safe and can lead to a wonky workstation which definitely won’t help your body.
Your monitor or screen should be about an arm’s length away and at eye-level or just below. You can buy a monitor stand if you need to help; if it’s at the wrong height, it could lead to neck problems. The brightest light source should be to the side.
As you know, you should take regular breaks from your work station whether at home or in the office. Stretch, make yourself a cuppa, play with the dog in the garden (fresh air works wonders!), stick the washing on (household chores are great for moving around) but whatever you do, do something away from the desk.
To make the next few weeks and months of working from home go well, it’s critical that you are comfortable. You don’t want to find that when life returns to normal, you’re left with a chronic injury.
Contact us if you have any questions – we are experienced in dealing with all sorts of work station queries, whatever the location.
And now... time for a brew!