Summer holiday season is over and once again it’s time to return to offices and home offices. After a small break many of us look at our working spaces with new eyes and want to make esthetic or ergonomic changes. Quite large part of office workers works either entirely or partly from home office. In this blog I will give you tips on how to maintain and improve well-being when working remotely, specifically from the ergonomic perspective. Remote work is has come to stay but the laws about employer’s responsibilities of taking care of the home office’s ergonomics aren’t unambiguous so that quite typically falls on the employees.
Furniture and accessories in a home office
Ergonomic specialist, Hanna Ojutkangas (ErgoFinland), urges you to think thoroughly all your needs from different perspectives before purchasing furniture for your home office. It is advisable to turn towards experts, especially if you’re buying something more expensive, to avoid wasting money. Experts know to ask the right questions about your home and working station and know to pay attention to things you might not even think of. The chair your friend praised might not be the right one for you. Even if you haven’t ever suffered from back problems or other musculoskeletal disorders, don’t wait for them to appear, but start paying attention to your working positions and habits preventively.
What do you need for an ergonomic home office:
- A height adjustable desk – When your desk is height adjustable it enables changing positions between sitting and standing, plus an optimal height for different situations. If it’s not possible for you to have a height adjustable desk, there are different options that you can put on an ordinary desk or even dinner table to enable standing while working. For example, GetUpDesk Light is a convenient solution for home office. It’s easy to assemble and dismantle and storing it doesn’t require much room.
- A separate computer screen – Whether you use a laptop or a computer, it would be very good to have a separate screen so that your neck and head are in a good position. When the screen height is optimal there won’t be extra strain on your eyes and neck, and you can avoid neck pain and headaches caused because of it. If you have only a laptop, the Gymba® Laptop Stand 3in1 is a good option to lift the screen a bit higher and reduce the aforementioned problems.
- A good chair – Especially if you must sit a lot, the need for a good chair is even more important. When purchasing an office chair, it’s good to have an expert giving you advice because it’s important to take into consideration your individual needs and physical qualities.
- The Gymba® Board as an accessory for standing – It’s important to take breaks from sitting during the day because your body needs movement. If you can’t head for a walk during a phone call, you can still have steps at your workstation with the Gymba® Board. It’s very easy and pleasant also just to stand on the board because it’s stable even though it adapts to your body’s natural movement. The massage balls that come together with the board make the board even more versatile and multiuse highlighting the health benefits you get when using the board. When you’re sitting you can use the board as a footrest reducing the pressure on your thighs and feet enabling better blood circulation.
- An ergonomic mouse and keypad – These are very important because problems on hands and wrists due to bad ergonomics are often tricky to overcome and they get easily chronic.
What else to take into consideration in a home office?
As I mentioned in the blog called “The importance of ergonomics in office work” (you can read it here), ergonomics is actually a lot more than just “a good desk and an ergonomic chair”. So, what should you take into consideration in a home office?
- Comfort and aesthetics – From the mental well-being’s point-of-view comfort and aesthetics play quite an important part. Often home offices might be more comfortable because colors and such are in your own hands. Not all of us find the surroundings to be so important, but I have the courage to claim that most of us enjoy entering a clean and aesthetic space and find it to be peaceful which also helps to focus.
- Lighting in a home office – Light, or the lack of it, has a big impact on our energy levels and the strain on eyes. So, make sure that you have a proper lighting at your workstation to avoid extra strain on eyes which can lead to headache.
- Distractions – What comes to distractions, some find home office to be less distractive than an office, some however find home office to be full of distractions with the piles of laundry and dishes. If you notice your focus to disrupt because of all sorts of distractions, one tip worth of trying is to make a schedule and to do lists for the next day. Try scheduling also the breaks when you can for example do laundry. Or what is better and more beneficial break exercise than vacuuming!
So, as a conclusion, don’t neglect ergonomics in your home office because it has such a great impact on your well-being as well as working. The next blog will continue the theme of posture. The previous blog post about posture is to be found here.