There are many reasons why having a comfortable workstation is important. Sitting behind a desk for long periods of time can impact your physical wellbeing if you’re not careful.
By setting up your home office ergonomically, you’re reducing the risk of repetitive strain injuries and can even increase your productivity at the same time.
Interested in getting started? Keep on reading.
Below we are going to take a look at ten easy tips that you can follow to achieve an ergonomic space.
Choose a location with adequate lighting.
While it might not seem like it, lighting plays a very important part in an ergonomic workspace. The area should be well lit, with the light dispersed over your entire desk. Alongside your regular room lights, consider a task lamp that can be used for any necessary documents. Just be careful with its placement as you want to avoid casting shadows.
You also need to remember that bright sunlight can cause screen glare, so avoid putting your computer directly behind a window. If this is the only option, invest in some blinds or curtains.
Adjust your equipment.
Most home office furniture is designed to be adjustable. If you haven’t done so already, take time to ensure that everything is positioned in the best way possible. Your feet should rest flat on the floor, your knees should be almost level with your hips, and the monitor should be about an arm’s length away. A few more general rules to follow include:
– Place your mouse and keyboard within easy reach.
– Consider a footrest if your feet can’t reach comfortably to the floor. A book or small stool can also be used.
– Put a cushion between the curve of your back if the chair can’t be adjusted.
You can find more tips on how to sit at your desk correctly here.
Place essentials within reaching distance.
From your paper and stationery to appliances such as these scanners, you want to make sure that you can access your supplies quickly. You don’t want to be reaching back and forth multiple times a day.
If you have the option to choose your storage, opt for drawers instead of cupboards. It’s much easier to find everything, and you won’t have to rummage through all of your belongings.
Increase your keyboard skills.
Typing all day long can be stressful, especially if you are not confident with the key’s location. To avoid neck injuries and meet deadlines sooner, consider improving your skills by becoming a touch typist. With a little bit of practice every day, you’ll be a pro before you know it. There are many great free courses and games online that can get you started.
A few other habits you can change to reduce repetitive injuries include:
– Turning up mouse sensitivity.
– Using shortcut keys.
– Connecting your laptop to stand-alone equipment if used for long periods.
Use “hands-free” where possible.
Alongside keeping most of your essentials within easy reach, you might also think about using hands-free options. Invest in a headset to answer phone calls and see if your programs have a dictate function to minimize keyboard usage. It really can make a big difference, and it may even improve the quality of your work at the same time.
Minimize disruptive sounds.
Dogs barking, children playing, and cars revving up and down the street, working from home can be just as noisy as a regular office. If you find that certain noises are distracting you while you’re working, there are a few things you can do to keep them to a minimum. Some of which include:
– Soundproofing the room.
– Using noise-canceling headphones.
– Wearing earplugs.
– Playing white noise or nature sounds.
If you want to take a break from the space, head down to your local coffee shop or sit outside in the sunshine for a little bit. While you shouldn’t do this all day, the change of environment can help reset your mind so that you can work in your home office more efficiently.
Tidy up your belongings.
Another tip to follow to create an ergonomic workstation is to keep the area tidy. Put back supplies after you have used them, tidy up loose cords and give everything a thorough clean at the end of the week. By keeping the space organized, you’ll be more likely to work there instead of on your lounge or bed.
It can also be worth investing in inadequate storage to keep all of your belongings categorized. Alongside the drawers that we mentioned above, consider using shelving, filing cabinets, and pegboards. Just make sure you don’t overcrowd the space. Having to search around for items defeats the purpose.
Invest in a standing desk.
Standing might seem like it is more physically exhausting, but switching between both it and sitting can be great for your physical wellbeing. Your body won’t feel so stressed in the one position, and it can help keep you productive.
Just remember that you still need to pay attention to your posture. Your feet and knees will need to be in alignment, and your arms should rest comfortably, just like if you were at a regular desk. You’ll also want to have supportive shoes if you’re on a hard floor or at least stand on a comfortable mat.
Follow the 20/20/20 rule.
The 20/20/20 rule is designed to help reduce eye strain. Basically, every 20 minutes you spend looking at your devices, you should spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. It’s a simple tip to follow that will give your eyes a break and help you stay focused.
To make things easier, place something that you know you will look at across the room. It could be a fake plant, a photograph, or even a figurine. It really is a great habit to get into.
Finally, the most important tip to follow when creating an ergonomic work area is to make sure that you stay active. All of the advice above is only going to work if you take regular breaks and stretch your body every 25-30 minutes. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop working either. Just think about how you can prioritize your tasks to increase movement.
And that’s it! By following the above, you can create a comfortable and productive space that you will want to work in. It may require a little bit of trial and error at first, but with a few changes, you would be amazed at the difference it can make.
Salvatore Presti is an American writer living in Italy who enjoys the fine art
of living well. His interests include anything wine, food or nature related
especially when enjoyed with friends and family.