Easy Ergonomic Work From Home (WFH) Tips for Your Home Work Environment
If you’re currently working from home, you’ve probably heard the word “ergonomics” (the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment*), and how it should be an important factor when creating a work space. Here are a few simple steps to make your WFH experience more efficient, effective and ergonomic:
- Get Off the Couch – Finding Your Perfect WFH HQ
Resist using a comfy couch, or restful bed as your home office destination. Relaxed horizontal, or reclined positions may trigger your body to think it’s nap time, and not time to get to work. Working from these locations can also lead to musculoskeletal disorder (MDS) causing back and neck problems. Instead, move to a desk space, or a flat table to establish a working area. This will also separate your work mode and relaxation mode allowing you to stay on task.
Standing desks are also an option gaining popularity in the home. Most are adjustable in height, and some also offer an attached sitting desk to use when needed.
- Please Be Seated – Selecting Your WFH Chair
Look around your house for a chair that will encourage good posture. Find a seat that provides you with both solid back and lumbar support. Adding firm cushions, or a tightly rolled towel when needed is also effective for maintaining a correct sitting position. These additions can also help relieve any strain on your back or neck.
For a custom tailored fit, office supply stores offer a variety of adjustable desk chairs to try before you buy. You’ll know when you have the perfect fit!
- Sit Up and Take Notice – Setting Up Your WFH Desk
Now that you have the appropriate desk and chair, it’s important to align them properly.
While seated, the height of the chair should allow your hips, knees and ankles to all be at a 90° angle, with feet comfortably touching the ground (if you’re shorter and feet are not flat on the floor, elevate them with a book, or foot rest underneath.)
Set up your desktop monitor properly to avoid eye and neck strain. Adjust the screen to the middle of your eye line, and about one arm’s length away from your seating position. Shoulders should be relaxed, and you should be sitting comfortably.
When using a laptop, adjust the viewing height to the appropriate level (middle of eye line) by positioning it on a box, or stack of books. This will also help to correct your posture to avoid hunching. Also consider using a wireless keyboard and mouse spaced apart from your laptop to distance yourself an arm’s length away from the screen.
- Reach for the Stars – The Importance of Stretching and WFH Breaks
Whether you spend the day on a computer formatting spreadsheets, responding to emails, or writing the next great American novel, it’s important to get up from the desk and give yourself a break. It will also help to relieve fatigue, improve blood flow and alleviate back or neck strain.
– Micro Breaks: Take 1–2-minute breaks from typing to stand, stretch, or make a quick phone call.
– Rest Breaks: Every 30 to 60 minutes exercise other body muscles by leaving your desk and taking a little walk, having a snack, or getting a breath of fresh air. Just remember to move it so you don’t lose it!
– 20-20-20 Rule: Every twenty minutes focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to prevent eye strain.
Follow these easy ergonomic steps when customizing your WFH space and experience a more productive, healthier work from home lifestyle.
*Definition from Oxford Languages