Home and workspace are now one and the same for many. So, you might find yourself at odds with your new home setup and its comfort level. If you don’t typically work from home, you’ll find that it comes with its own distinct benefits and challenges. Sitting on the couch all day with your laptop might not sound so bad at first, but when you do it for eight hours straight, it can get uncomfortable pretty quickly.
With a little planning and some ergonomic pixie dust, you can take your current home workspace to the next level. Here are a few points to consider to make sure your home workspace allows you to be as comfortable and productive as possible.
Set yourself up for (comfortable) success with ergonomic office accessories
Choose a chair that supports your back
While the couch may be calling your name, working from a properly positioned seat can make all the difference when sitting for several hours. Select a chair that supports your back—your feet should be in contact with the floor and your posture neutral.
An adjustable chair that reclines is a must. Reclining may take some strain off your back. And being able to adjust your chair to a height where you can type comfortably could save you from a painful repetitive strain injury in your fingers, wrists or arms.
Adjust your computer screen height to avoid neck & back pain
Your computer screen should be at or just below eye level to avoid craning your neck to view your work. If you use a laptop, think about using a Bluetooth keyboard, so you don’t have to reach to type.
Besides your computer screen’s height, you should also consider how close or far away it is to you. Most ergonomic experts suggest your screen should be around one arm’s length away from you (that’s about 20 inches). This way, the whole screen is in your field of vision and is far enough not to fatigue your eyes (too much).
Practice proper typing position
Proper typing position can make all the difference in comfort while working from home. Ideally, your arms should rest lightly on the armrests of your chair and your keyboard should be level with your elbows. Attaching a keyboard tray to the underside of your desk and placing your laptop on a few books will help to align your posture.
Crunched for space or using a kitchen or coffee table as a desk? Consider a convertible desktop, like VariDesk, so that you can change your position periodically. Converting your workspace into a standup desk is also a great way to fight muscle aches and fatigue.
Soak up as much natural light as you can
Choose the brightest spot you can for your workspace, preferably by a window for maximum mood-boosting benefit. Natural light is easier on the eyes, so that will help your eyes from feeling strained.
A study done at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology looked at natural light in working environments and found that natural light:
- Increased people’s energy levels versus artificial light
- Reduced, eyestrain which translated into higher productivity
- At certain times of the day, suppressed melatonin so that employees slept better at night
- Helped combat stress
If you can’t get natural light in your workspace, borrow a floor lamp or desk lamp from another room. Smart bulbs are another great enhancement as they allow you to adjust the tone and brightness to your preference.
Park yourself near power sources
Wherever your desk (or lap desk) ends up, it should provide easy access to an electrical outlet. To ensure you have enough power, invest in a surge protector so you can plug in your computer, printer, and all the devices you need without any additional hassle of plugging and unplugging.
You may not think that power sources would contribute that much to making your workspace ergonomic, but anywhere you can increase comfort and lower stress (like having to go to a faraway printer every couple of minutes) is a good thing.
An ergonomic setup helps you work longer, stay focused and productive, and reduces the strain on your neck and back. Keeping these ergonomic rules in mind, you can avoid a lot of pain and fatigue.
These essential tips and space ideas make it easy to adjust to a new work-from-home routine. With some minor adjustments and an ergonomic approach, you’ll never miss a beat.