5 easy steps to optimise your work from home setup for good ergonomics

5 easy steps to optimise your work from home setup for good ergonomics

Even if you’ve been working from home for a while now, many of us still don’t have a good home office setup. It’s not too late to get it right, especially if working from home a few days a week is likely to become a normal part of your routine post-pandemic. A good WFH setup doesn’t have to be costly and many companies will provide some money towards getting you set up correctly. If your company hasn’t offered, it never hurts to ask. And if you don’t have any budget for a better set up? There are still a number of things you can do on your own.

1. Get a good chair

An ergonomic office chair will help you avoid slouching and prevent aches and pains from sitting all day. Look for a chair where you can adjust the height and angle, with armrests and lumbar support. Or maybe you would prefer to try an exercise ball or wobble stool instead? These are great (and often cheap) alternatives that will help you sit up straight and keep your body moving during the day.

2. Choose the right desk

You’ll be more productive with a desk that suits your way of working than you would be at the dining room table or kitchen island. This is because a desk of the right height and size for your needs will give you a better working position. Plus it gives you an allocated space where you can focus on your work and give yourself a physical and mental divide between work and home. Think about your priorities. Do you want your desk to fit in a small space so you can tuck it away at the end of the day? Do you want a traditional desk with inbuilt storage cupboards to hide files and paperwork? Or perhaps you like to think on your feet and a sit-stand desk would be perfect for you?

3. Elevate your laptop

A laptop gives you flexibility to move around the house and work in different positions throughout the day that you don’t get with a desktop but slouching over it is a sure way to end up with neck and shoulder pain. The solution may be a portable laptop stand, a simple device that will lift the screen to eye level, preventing the neck pain and eye strain caused by looking down constantly.

Ideally use a separate screen, mouse and keyboard. The screen should be positioned so that the top is at eye level so that you’re not looking downwards as you work. If your desk is fixed in place, an easy fix is to raise your screen up using books so that it’s at the right height. Invest in a monitor arm or desk converter for a long-term solution. An external mouse and ergonomic keyboard reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury to the wrists and forearms.

4. Take a 15-minute workout break

This might not sound like a way to be more productive at work but moving regularly is essential to good ergonomics. Let’s start with the basics: every 15-20 minutes be sure to look away from your screen and stretch your body out from head to toe. The next step is standing up and moving around a little bit 1-2 times an hour: just standing up for a few minutes can make a difference. The best thing you can do though is incorporate a short fitness routine into your day. It’s actually good for your focus and productivity as well as your health: a study showed that people experience cognitive benefits immediately after a moderate intensity exercise session of just 15 minutes!

5. Light up your workspace

Use an adjustable desk lamp to brighten up your workspace in order to avoid eye strain. Look for a light that allows you to change the brightness so you can adapt it for different tasks and throughout the day. You should also try to minimise glare on the screen by positioning your desk either so it’s perpendicular to the window or so that the windows are behind the screen.