If you work from home, chances are you spend a lot of time at your desk every day. While you may not be aware of it, this could wreck your body big time. What you need to do is set up a healthy, ergonomic workspace to help your body out and keep yourself comfortable at all times.
One colleague of mine, who runs a company called Check Issuing, an accounts payable business based in Denver, Colorado, said that improving the ergonomics of his work space increased his productivity 10-fold.
Maybe this can be true for you also?
Here are several ways to do it.
Many people have switched to standing desks and they claim this to be doing wonders for their body and comfort. If a standing desk sounds too extreme for you, going all out and building a custom ergonomic desk might be the first thing that comes to mind – but in fact you could also keep your existing desk and just make a few changes with the way your hardware is positioned to get results that are just as good.
Luckily, ergonomic office chairs aren’t insanely expensive anymore and you can find ones that are great for you but also very affordable. Here is a list of things your chair should have:
A cushion that’s comfortable: Obviously, you need a comfortable place to sit because you’re going to spend a lot of time on that cushion. A hard chair is hardly going to do you any good. Also, breathable fabric can be a plus, if possible.
- Arm rests: It’s very important to have properly positioned arm rests for when you’re not actively working on the computer. They should be low enough to let your shoulders stay relaxed and your elbow should bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Lumbar support: By default, our backs are slightly curved inward, so your chair shouldn’t have a back that’s directly vertical. It should support your lower back by coming forward in that area. You need that support because without it you will mess up your spine for sure.
- Adjustable seat height: It’s by far easier to adjust your seat height than to adjust your desk height. You need to be able to adjust your seat so that your feet are flat on the floor and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Also, you need to have your arms at the height of the desk.
- Adjustable back rest height: You should be able to adjust the back rest up and down, but you should also be able to change its angle. The angle should be pretty far forward to make sure you always keep your posture up. Having the back rest leaning backwards will have you slouching in no time.
Mouse and Keyboard
Your mouse and your keyboard should be placed as close together as possible, keeping the alphanumeric part of your keyboard centered in front of you. You want to look at the keys, not the keyboard itself while you’re working. Most keyboards are asymmetrical, so instead of placing the whole keyboard at the center, look at the letter B and make sure it’s right in front of you. This gives you symmetry and makes typing a lot easier. You also need your keyboard and mouse to be placed at a height so that when using them, your elbows bent at around a 90 degree angle, so you don’t bend your wrists to type.
Positioning the monitor properly is very important. You need the point at about 2-3 inches down from the top of the monitor to be at your eye level. You need your head looking straight forward into the monitor, instead of having to bend your neck up or down all the time. Also, the monitor needs to be at around an arm length from where you’re sitting.
Be comfy and be productive!