Setting Up Your Work-From-Home Space
Our homes are being experienced in a brand new way these days and have taken on additional unexpected roles such as a gym, classroom, and office space. Creating a holistic atmosphere that empowers you to do your best work requires moving your office from a bed or a couch to a dedicated area that keeps you upright, aligned, focused, and comfortable. Setting up a home office may seem like a secondary priority, but a few simple adjustments are all that’s needed to tap into your best professional self, even at home.
The Importance of Ergonomics
Human Factors study, otherwise known as ergonomics, is a scientific discipline that concentrates on the interaction between humans and their work ecosystem. It analyzes physical components (heat, noise, smells), skill requirements, risk, and time demands within professional spaces, and works to create cohesion between humans and their habitat in a specific system. The study of ergonomics also spans to psychosocial, physical, and even technological components of the work environment.
The industrial age that took full form in the 1900s brought the science of ergonomics to the forefront to assess worker needs and optimize workers’ relationships with machinery. But the body of knowledge can be found in documents about musculoskeletal injuries documented by Bernardino Ramazinni in the 1700s. Practice areas such as anthropometry, biomechanics, applied psychology, environmental physics, and social psychology add to the complete set of building blocks that help people create a physically and mentally healthy workspace that increases productivity.
How to Create an Ergonomic Workspace
Ergonomically cohesive areas don’t necessarily have to be large in size. If you have a small to medium workspace at home, ergonomic principles can still be adhered to.
Find a Holistic Space in Your Home
Ideally, a home office with a door, plenty of natural light, and access to a window is the best place to spend your workday. If you don’t have a home office, pick the most peaceful place in your living area that will keep you focused on your work. Adding in plants or a terrarium, a fountain, paintings, an aquarium, or a sun lamp can brighten your area and help keep your space holistic.
Invest in a Desk and Office Chair That’s Fitted to Your Body
The days of pulling up an armchair for a few hours spent working from home on a Friday ended many months ago. Investing in a desk and office chair with lumbar support is critical to a productive workday, and decreases damage to your spine and hips. One size does not fit all when it comes to desks and office chairs. Checking measurements and adjusting once received can impact your health.
If your desk is the right height, then you should have a few inches above your legs so that your keyboard isn’t too low or too high, but your feet should also be flat on the floor. Most desks fall into the 28 to 30 inch height range, but you may need a different size if you are under 5’8 or over 5’10. Your forearm and upper arm should not be overly extended or raised. A 90 to 110 degree bend with your forearms touching the desk will allow you to sit comfortably.
A good office chair shouldn’t be too high or too low, and the ability to recline reduces back tension. Lumbar support, seat depth, and armrest height all need to be adjusted to fit each body type. Also, be sure to pay attention to the material and choose a breathable chair that also provides you with the support you need.
Posture is Just as Important as Your Work
The Staples Business Resource Center reported that 34% of all lost workdays in the U.S. are due to injury or illness related to poor ergonomics in the workplace. Being mindful of your posture while working is one of the best health decisions that can ever be made. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and adjusting your monitor and lighting so that your eyes and neck are not strained will make a world of difference. From there, make sure that your back is thoroughly supported, and both your thighs and arms should always be 90 degrees.
After you put together the necessities needed to create a dynamically ergonomic workspace, adding a few bells and whistles can take your home office to the next level. One trending office item that can make a big difference in health is a standing desk. Whether you decide on a full standing desk or a simple desk riser, standing for just 15 minutes per hour can help fight fatigue and improve circulation. Options for office chairs are also widely available, and switching between an office and kneeling chair can also help fight over-stagnation.
From blue light glasses to an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, computer glasses help fight eye strain, and ergonomically built computer accessories can decrease the chances of developing carpal tunnel. There has never been a better time to work from home in a healthy way. A wide variety of ergonomically designed work solutions is broadly available, and creating the perfect place to work in your home is easier than ever.