Remote working is a growing trend, in fact, 43% of employees in the United States work remotely at least once per week, and 13% of all remote workers find it more productive working from home.
With more people working from home today, we’ve created a complete guide for you to set up your ergonomic home office.
Following this guide will help you to set up a high-quality workplace that allows you to be more productive and healthy when working from home.
Home Office Essentials
Ergonomics (Human factors) is the science of understanding the interaction of humans with the elements in the workplace. Ergonomic setup focuses on improving how people work in their environment based on the five principles: safety, comfort, ease of use, performance, and aesthetics.
Sitting for a long period, or working on a workstation that is too high, or low is bad for your health.
According to WebMD, prolonged sitting can have long-term negative health effects; put huge stress to your neck, back, and spine and even shorten your life!
While a desk that is too high or low can cause hand, or wrist pain.
3 Key Focus Areas for Setting Up an Ergonomic Home Office:
Good ergonomic posture is essential when working from home.
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Sitting for a prolonged period often leads to neck and shoulder pain.
Often this is due to incorrect posture of the head which leads to strain on the neck and shoulders.
“For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.”
The position of your head should be vertical to your neck, where it creates the least amount of strain.
But most of the time, remote workers tend to have a makeshift home office. Where they will be working with a laptop on the coffee table, with the screen being either too low or too high.
The incorrect height of the screen will lead the user to have their head in the forward posture, which causes a lot of strain on their neck muscle.
Although, having a forward head posture once in a while is probably harmless.
Faulty neck posture by the forward-flex of your head for a prolonged period of time will cause irreversible damage and cause Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS). UCS is the deformation of muscles that puts a strain on the surrounding joints, bones, muscles, and tendons.
Symptoms caused by Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS):
Proper support of the head and neck can reduce the pressure taken on the muscle at the back of your neck.
Consider placing your laptop on a laptop stand, or using an external ergonomic keyboard or mouse.
If you find your head leaning forward because of the height of your monitor, use books, or a stool to lift it up to a comfortable eye level which enables your head to be vertical to your neck.
Your eyes should be aligned to the top of the screen.
The proper sitting posture at the computer is sitting with your back straight and shoulders pulled back. Allow your body weight to be distributed evenly on both hips. Knees are kept at a 90-degree angle with the height of your knee aligned to your hips. Feet flat or rest on the floor, or on a footrest.
Getting the right chair will depend on a person’s height, the type of chair, and the activity the person is performing.
A good chair will allow you to stay in proper sitting posture with good back and spine support for sitting.
A chair with the best sitting position should be able to perform the following:
The ability to adjust to fit the body shape and sizes of each person is essential to allow maximum comfortable and minimum stress on the body.
The best wrist position when typing or working on a desk is when it is in a neutral position with the forearms parallel to the floor, or slightly lower. The elbow will be at a 90 to 150 degrees angle. This allows the wrist to remain straight while typing, or using the mouse.
A repetitive task that requires bending, or twisting motion with your hand for an extended period, or incorrect positioning of your hand and wrist can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is median nerve compression. Common symptoms are:
With any input device you are using, it is good practice to ensure your hands are kept in a neutral position.
“Not all ergonomic products suits you.”
Some wrist rest can help to reduce fatigue and prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist pain while working on your computer. While an unsuitable wrist rest that is too high may increase the angle of the user’s wrist bend.
Getting an ergonomic keyboard or mouse might be a better option if you are unsure how to buy the right wrist rest for you.
If you are facing pain in your wrist or shoulder, you may want to make some changes to your home office.
Consider changing to a mouse that fit the size of your hands, or an ergonomic keyboard that will allow your hands to move freely in a wrist neutral position.
Creating your ergonomic home office is quite a lot of work, but it will definitely be worth your time and effort.
Here, we’ve created an ergonomic self-assessment checklist to help you in setting up your home office and establish good working habits that will keep you productive and healthy.
Why do you use this checklist as a guideline when setting up your home office. If you find yourself having more “No” than “Yes”, you may consider making the necessary changes to prevent lasting health injuries that are common for most remote workers.
Up Next… How do you prepare for virtual onboarding at a new job?
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Editor-in-Chief & Career Development Expert
A.C is the editor-in-chief & career development expert who writes about real-world career advice on job search, interviews, career success, and hiring the right people for the team. Before starting this site, A.C. has 10+ years of experience as management professional in a Fortune 500 Company. His work has been featured in Medium, WikiHow and Chron and is currently authoring his new book on overcoming procrastination and achieving goals.
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