Creating an ergonomic workspace at home

Working from home has become a way of life for many of us and surveys have shown that we're happy to continue doing it, perhaps for one or two days a week. But it has its downsides as well as its upsides. Many people find that they move about less during their workday and that the ergonomics of their home office are not as good as what they are normally used to at work. Fortunately, there are some simple ways for you to improve your home office!

Variety is key

When you're working at home, it's easy to forget to stretch your legs and move about. You may end up sitting still for long periods. But it's important to vary your working position for the sake of your physical health. At the office, you will find yourself moving about as a matter of course when you go to the printer, the coffee machine or a meeting. You may even have a height-adjustable desk. But at home you can't do any of these things.

The best way of making sure that you stand up at home, without having to work on the ironing board, is to get a sit-stand desk of a suitable size. This gives you a proper work surface with space for all your office equipment. You can also adjust it to the right height for sitting or standing, allowing you to change positions regularly. If you don't have room for a whole desk, there are more versatile alternatives, such as a laptop stand or desk converter, which you can move around and put in different locations in your home.

Make sure your working conditions are right

Do you sit at the kitchen table to work? You're not the only one. But there are good reasons for investing in furniture that is designed for office work. For example, your kitchen chair isn't intended for use during an eight-hour working day. Instead, you should replace it with an ergonomic office chair that follows the movements of your body and helps you to sit correctly. The office chair is one of the most important pieces of furniture that you can get for working at home and it doesn't have to look dull and boring. Invest in a stylish chair that matches the design of your home and is also adjustable and ergonomic!

You should also buy a proper desk so that you can leave all your papers and materials out at the end of the working day. If you're short of space at home, there are a lot of smaller desks available that will fit perfectly under the stairs or in a corner of a room. Don't forget that you can add accessories that not only look good but are also functional. For example, you can opt for a footrest or a comfortable mat to stand on. A standing mat is good for relieving the strain on the muscles of your legs, hips and back when you're working standing up.

Find the right angle

If you are experiencing neck problems, your computer screen may be at the wrong angle. Your screen should be at eye level so that you are sitting with your neck straight. If you work on a laptop and don’t have space for a separate screen, you can try standing it on a stack of books or buying a laptop stand to make it higher. In this case, we recommend using a wireless mouse and keyboard, so that your forearms can still rest on the table at a 90° angle. This will relieve the strain on your shoulders. Remember to work with your hands and arms close to your body to prevent so-called mouse arm.

Tired eyes are a sign of poor lighting

Proper workplace lighting is important, regardless of whether you are in the office or working from home. If you often get headaches or have tired eyes, the lighting where you're sitting may be too dim or too bright. Find a good spot near a window and position your screen so that the light isn't reflected in it. You could also add a desk lamp to your workspace to give yourself more control over the lighting levels, particularly during the dark winter months.

Recharge your batteries by taking a break

If you can't make your workplace as ergonomic as it should be, it's even more important to take a break and move about. You could go for a short walk or do some stretches, for example. The important thing is to get moving so that your body can recharge its batteries and you can reduce the risk of pain and stiffness. It's a good idea to take a short break after every Teams or Zoom meeting so that you can rest your eyes and stretch your legs. You can also take the opportunity to do what are known as opposite movements where you stretch your arms back and up if you have been sitting leaning forward at the computer.

Don't forget to talk to your colleagues and manager about what you can all do to make your home offices more ergonomic!