The modern trend of telecommuting and remote working is just getting started, as more employees begin working from their homes each year. Going from a 9-5 office job to an at-home working environment is a huge transition, and some jobs and personalities are more suited for it than others.
But one of the biggest pitfalls among new home office workers is not setting up a healthy and productive home office space. It’s easy and convenient to settle for working on the couch, in bed, at the kitchen counter, or outside on the patio furniture. However, these places aren’t ergonomically designed for work and lend themselves to plenty of distractions, stiffness, and long-term pain.
Whether you’ve been working from home for many years or are just exploring the idea with your current employer, these are some ergonomic upgrade ideas for your home office. With a few minor adjustments and smart investments, you can boost your comfort, productivity, and efficiency for a better work-life balance.
Start with a Good Chair
Many people who transition from working in an office to working at home actually find themselves putting in more hours in the long run. If your job involves sitting in front of a computer all day, then you’re going to need a supportive chair for everyday tasks. If you can only invest in one ergonomic upgrade, make it your chair. Look for chairs that have adjustable seats and armrests and that provide lumbar support. Chairs that allow for bouncing, rocking, and swiveling 360 degrees are also good options.
Try a Sit-to-Stand Workstation
The human body wasn’t designed to be in the same position all day, every day. Sit-to-stand workstations certainly don’t put your body through a full range of motion, but they’re still a better alternative to prolonged sitting. This is a good way to reduce your risk of back pain. These have become very common and affordable in furniture stores these days.
Upgrade Your Mouse and Keyboard
Laptops are very common among remote workers because they allow you to crank out work at coffee shops, on picnic tables in the park, and even in the passenger seat on road trips. However, most keyboards and track pads that come with laptops are far from ergonomic. To reduce pain in your fingers, hands, and wrists, consider getting an external keyboard with ergonomic curves to use on top of your laptop keyboard. A curved mouse can also help your clicking hand retain its natural shape and prevent pain from repetitive use.
Light It Up
Improper lighting in your home office can lead to headaches, eye strain, and overall fatigue. Let as much natural light into your home office as possible to help keep you energized and alert. Adjustable desk lamps can help supplement natural light as well. To avoid glare from sunlight and artificial lights, try different computer monitor positions and place a small lamp on your desk for detail tasks.
Practice Ergonomic Exercises
One of the great things about working from home is that you don’t have to worry about looking silly while taking care of your health. There are lots of great ergonomic exercises you can do to prolong and enhance your career. Between work tasks or at least every hour, make a point to stretch at least one body part. Focus on the muscles you use or tense up the most while working, such as the neck, back, fingers, wrists, and eyes. Remember, even the simplest movements can help you get the most out of ergonomic upgrades that you invest in for your home office.