The workplace is changing all the time in this digital era. People are working from home more; often spending time in a non-traditional office.
You may have experienced the rare occasion of writing reports on the couch or answering emails at the kitchen table. These types of furniture aren’t designed to accommodate you when working though. They’re meant for watching television or having dinner.
You’ll soon find yourself staying in an uncomfortable position or doing repetitive movements for hours. These put a lot of stress on your body, affecting your muscles and joints. Alarmingly, musculoskeletal disorders can lead to severe long-term pain or even physical disability.
Spare yourself from injury by implementing ergonomics in the home office. At the same time, you’ll improve your quality of work, boost morale, and stay focused.
What Equipment to Prepare
Consider the kind of work you do on a regular basis and think about what you require to get it done as efficiently as possible. How the rest of your workplace is going to be arranged will revolve around your key equipment.
Graphic designers who regularly switch from their drawing tablet to their keyboard to their mouse will need a different setup from a content writer, for instance. A customer service agent, meanwhile, requires easy access to their headset while a web developer might not.
What Areas to Focus On
Putting your equipment, documents, and other work-related items on a separate desk isn’t enough. You’d want to arrange things in a way that minimises the need to reach for stuff while preventing the stress of uncomfortable sitting.
There are numerous options for creating the most ergonomic home office and keeping yourself healthy as a remote worker. Concentrate your efforts on making changes to these focus areas to ensure a good setup.
Head and Neck
Make sure your head is vertical to your neck to reduce the amount of strain. Your eyes should be in-line with the top of your screen so you won’t have to look up or down at it. To get it to the right height, you may need to elevate your monitor.
Consider buying an adjustable stand if you’re using a desktop. However, a stack of books or bricks is much cheaper and can achieve the same effect. If you’re using a laptop, get a riser and switch to an external mouse and keyboard.
Hands and Wrists
Similar to your head, see to it that your hands and wrists are in a neutral posture. Check this by extending your arms and laying your hands flat on the table. Your hands, wrists, and forearms must be flush with the surface.
To keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle, you might have to adjust the height of your chair or table as well as move your peripherals closer or farther away from you. When you’d rather not buy a computer desk, a keyboard drawer or tray is a good alternative.
Feet and Knees
The proper way to sit while working involves having your knees bent at 90-degree angles. Ensure they are level with your hips while keeping your feet planted on the floor. Putting a hard pillow at your feet helps with this, if not a stack of books or an actual footrest.
Be careful that your seat isn’t hitting the back of your knees as this reduces blood flow and causes your ankles and feet to swell. Reclining your back 15 to 20 degrees stops them from being flush to the edge while keeping your hips open and comfortable.
Upper and Lower Back
Many people say you must sit with your torso perpendicular to the floor—this is a myth. Rather, find a position that allows you to see the screen while sitting back. Think of it as being in the driver’s seat where you’ll lean slightly backwards while looking at the road.
Don’t have an office chair? Try placing a folded towel or small pillow behind your lower back. There are also affordable cushions designed to provide lumbar support. Look into orthopedic memory foam as well; this will prevent your tailbone from touching the seat’s surface and reduce pressure.
It’s easy to forget how much time you’ve spent in front of your computer working. Note that staying in one place for extended periods, even with ergonomically designed or arranged furniture, stresses both the body and mind. You’re still going to get tired after a while.
So, take short breaks when you can. Set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes to remind you to get up and move around. Stretch your body, go on a walk, make a cup of tea, or check on your pets to put the different muscles in your body to use.
What Clients Look For
While it’s your choice what arrangement works for your body, your client’s needs may be different.
You might prefer an open floor plan so you’ve set everything up in your living room. However, they may require you be in a private room. Maybe you’re able to achieve peak ergonomics in one area but you can’t fulfill the requirement of a plain background there.
Setting things up may take more effort if you don’t know what employers need. Better to make things clear by working with us at Remote Workmate.
By applying for a remote job through us, you’ll have your setup checked by us virtually. We’ll sometimes provide advice on what or how to change your setup too, if the need arises. Doing so gives you a greater chance of getting hired.