When working from home, you’re likely already battling kids asking for snacks, pets looking for attention or the temptation to nap during the day. The last thing you need is to struggle with the ergonomics of your work-from-home setup.
Where to start…
Let’s start with the basics. As tempting as it is to log hours from your bed, you’re going to have to start with a desk or table and a supportive chair. Much like a typical office setup, you’re going to want to adjust your chair, monitors, keyboard and mouse to prevent injury. We suggest you listen to the experts at the Canadian Chiropractic Association and check out their article on ergonomics for a comprehensive overview.
So let’s dive into the specifics of working from home. Whether this is a permanent state for you, or just a temporary setup during the pandemic, you want to make your space work for you. Whenever possible, building a designated workstation is always ideal. If you don’t have a spare room in your home that you could convert into an office, look for a space in your home that could serve a dual purpose. Perhaps there is a corner of your living room, basement or even your bedroom where you could set up a workstation. Not having to sacrifice your kitchen table or dismantle your set up daily will help you immensely.
Your desk options.
If you invest in a desk, take needs such as storage, cord organization and space availability into account. We also suggest keeping ergonomics in mind and opting for either a sit/stand desk or a standing desk with a higher chair. The option of standing can be a benefit for those with back pain, but also your mental state and overall health.
As mentioned, standing desks offer many freedoms and benefits; however, if you are feeling the stress in your joints, you can easily pick up a standing mat. In their basic form, these provide cushion for your hips, back and knees. Advanced models go beyond basic ergonomics and offer roller balls and other features that allow for foot massage, pressure point activation and tension relief. (Who couldn’t use a foot rub in the middle of a video call at 3 pm?)
Monitors and Cameras.
Adding a second monitor can improve your productivity. Whether you’re comparing documents or keeping your email open on the side, it can aid in maintaining focus. Studies show that employees with two or more monitors complete tasks in significantly less time than those with one screen. Monitors are widely available through online stores. The right monitor will depend on your personal needs.
Video calls are a way of life in this new reality we are living in. If your profession requires you to be on multiple calls throughout the day, we suggest picking up an external camera. While your laptop may very well have a perfectly serviceable camera built into the unit, its placement is probably not ideal for your set up. If you are consistently turning your head to look at your camera and talk to your team, you could be putting undue stress on your vertebrae. An external camera will allow you to choose the appropriate placement to reduce the risk of neck injury.
The importance of lighting.
Proper lighting is something that is often overlooked in the home office. If you don’t have adequate light, you could suffer from eyestrain and headaches. The colour or temperature of light can also determine the mood in the room. Opting for a “cooler” or more blue-toned light can be used to create a more “wakeful feeling” in the room as it is closest to the wavelength produced by the sun. The most crucial point about lighting in your home office is to avoid creating glare as this will only increase your risk of eyestrain.
We hope these tips will help you work and feel your best in your home office, no matter how long you’re set up in there.
Looking for other blogs about working from home during COVID-19? Learn more about the healthy habits your team should adopt this year and how to keep your team connected during a second lockdown.