Working from home? Join the club! With more of us than ever attempting to work from the kitchen table – and more of us suffering bodily harm because of it – now is the time to assess and correct the ergonomics of your workstation setup.
The following quick tips should get you started towards better comfort, improved posture and fewer aches and pains
1. Choose the right desk surface
This is key. And by ‘surface’ we mean a hard, flat surface – not your lap while you sit on the couch…
- When you’re sitting at your desk (or table of choice), ideally you’ll be able to rest your forearms comfortably, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your wrists in a straight-line position.
- Sitting as per above, your feet should be flat on the floor (or use a footrest for support), with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Remember that you don’t want your knees or thighs jammed up against the furniture – make sure they’ve got plenty of room to breathe!
- Extra points awarded for a stand-up desk – humans aren’t designed to sit all day, even if that’s what many of us do!
2. Adjust your monitor height
Here’s another 90-degree reminder: correct posture will have you sitting with your shoulders back and your neck upright, with your chin at that all-important 90-degree angle from your neck.
- Place your monitor about an arm’s length away and directly in front of you.
- If you use multiple screens, have your ‘main’ screen in the centre and your second screen to the side; if you use both screens equally, sit in the middle with the two screens angled accordingly.
- Ideally, the top of your monitor should be roughly at eye level.
3. Position your keyboard and mouse
- Place your keyboard around 10-25cm from the desk edge (depending on arm length), so that your forearms can rest on your desk without stress.
- Place your mouse right next to the keyboard, so that your elbows and arms remain close to your body.
- Remember to alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse to decrease the repetitive movements on one side.
4. Sort out your seating
To keep with the 90-degree theme, your torso to thigh angle should be 90 degrees or greater when sitting.
- If you don’t have access to an adjustable chair, try to use a chair with a solid backrest for support; adding a rolled-up towel or small cushion in the lumbar area can help reduce lower-back discomfort.
- If you can afford it, invest in a comfortable and adjustable ergonomic chair: your spine will thank you in the long run.
- If your chair has armrests, ensure they’re not stopping you from sitting comfortably tucked under the desk or table.
5. Check your lighting
Avoiding eye strain is just as important in avoiding ongoing headaches or migraines as avoiding shoulder and neck strain. Make sure your lighting is up to the job!
- Try to get as much natural light as possible (and remember to give your eyes frequent rests by looking away from your monitor to a spot in the distance).
- Choose a light that is not too dull or too bright, and incorporate task lighting to illuminate your work surface, if appropriate.
6. Incorporate biophilic design principles
Biophilic design – design that improves our connections to nature – is thought to bring a wealth of benefits, including improved physical and mental wellbeing, for building occupants.
- Create a positive office environment with natural light and access to external (preferably green, and plant- or tree-filled) views.
- Bring nature inside with indoor plants, soothing forest-inspired colour schemes, tactile surfaces and natural textiles.
7. Take breaks and start stretching
Good stretching exercises can help counteract the effects of a not-entirely-perfect desk setup.
- Guidelines suggest taking five minutes away from your desk every 30 minutes, so go and make that cup of tea, grab a glass of water or make your next phone call while stretching your legs.
- There are numerous apps to help remind you to take a break, some of which will also help you out with stretching recommendations or eye relaxation techniques. Get googling and find one that suits you.
8. Select the best computer equipment to suit your needs
Peering awkwardly at a tiny out-dated monitor or need a second keyboard so that you can raise your laptop screen to a comfortable height? At Geelong Technology Group we stock an extensive range of desktops, laptops and accessories to suit all needs.
Contact us today, or pop into our Belmont storefront, and we can discuss your unique requirements and provide tailored solutions.
Geelong Technology Group – the tech experts – servicing Geelong and surroundings, including Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads, Torquay, Bellarine Peninsula, Surf Coast, Golden Plains, Colac, and Warrnambool.