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Contrary to the popular notion, ergonomics isn’t complicated, expensive or difficult to implement.
Yet, if we read anything with prefix ergonomic, we assume it to burn a hole in our pocket. At the same time, we start thinking about the complexity of adopting it in our daily routine.
If you work from home, then it is an added hassle. Who can spend time researching and figuring out ergonomics when you have a deadline looming over your head?
To ease your troubles, we present a simple, easy to follow guide to set-up an ergonomic home office with ergonomic home office furniture and some other home office essentials.
What is Ergonomics?
Let’s start with the basics first. In technical terms, ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system.
So, there is as much ergonomics in going for a stroll as in spending time at your desk. Still, we associate unnecessary technicalities with it.
It takes only a few considerations and some ergonomic furniture and ergonomic products to get it right.
Home Office Ergonomics
When planning a home office, you need to consider six factors to make it ergonomic friendly.
- Work Routine
- Ergonomically Designed Chair
- Ergonomic Computer Workstation
- Ergonomic Keyboard
- Ergonomic Mouse
- Office Lighting
Let’s look into each one in detail.
The most overlooked aspect of ergonomics is how you plan and implement your work routine.
You should try to include different types and variety of tasks. For e.g. writing your ideas down in a notebook instead of the computer, going for walks to contemplate new ideas, conducting standing meetings to save time.
It is equally important not to overburden yourself with a huge amount of these tasks. Plan out your week, distribute your to-dos and keep achievable goals for each day. This way you do not spend a lot of time sitting or doing one monotonous task.
According to these guidelines, it is better to take several short breaks while working. This means you can change your posture frequently and won’t risk stressing particular joints or muscles.
Taking short breaks doesn’t mean losing focus and concentration, it just means organizing your tasks to ensure that prolonged sitting or standing is avoided.
Even if you buy the most expensive ergonomic home office furniture, a haphazard work routine and poor home office organisation would hamper you from reaping the maximum benefits.
Ergonomically Designed Chair
Since most of our time while working is spent sitting, it is important to get an ergonomically designed chair for your home office. The best ergonomic office chair will help maintain a natural, ergonomic posture and doesn’t introduce or aggravate any existing pains.
If you live outside India, you could buy office chairs like the $199 Autonomous Ergonomic MyoChair or the $449 Autonomous Ergonomic OsmoChair. The ergonomic chair price might seem a bit expensive, but when you consider the health benefits, it’s actually quite reasonable.
A comfortable office chair will have an ergonomic design with features that let you change the configuration as per your body type and sit in a relaxed natural position. This helps in reducing pains and fatigue, hence improving productivity.
Most ergonomic chairs have backrests that provide sufficient support for lumbar and also allow for posture variation, like the Green Soul Beast Series GS-600 180 Degree Angle Back Recline Gaming/Ergonomic Chair, or the GreenSoul Monster Pro GS-734P Gaming and Ergonomic Chair, the best office chair for back pain.
Though, studies and research have shown kneeling chairs also provide long-term comfort when sitting.
Because of the lack of ergonomic chair back support, a kneeling chair encourages your body to stay aligned. The enhanced angle between your lower body and torso will do wonders for the aches in the lumbar region.
For maximum benefits, always adjust your chair to an optimal height so that your forearms are held horizontally, elbows are bent at about 90 degrees. The wrists should be straight when you place your hands on the keyboard or mouse.
Another ergonomic product to provide the best lumbar support for office chairs is the Grin Health Sit Right Ergonomic Back Support Memory Foam Backrest Lumbar Cushion.
If you’re short in stature and need a footrest to complement your ergonomic office chair, you could also get the Palo Ergonomic & Adjustable Angle Foot Rest or the Ergonomic Adjustable Height FootRest for Office Chairs.
Ergonomic Computer Workstation
If you thought you can create your best work while cosying up in the bed, you’re wrong. An ergonomic workstation is important for productivity.
Your ergonomic computer table need not be a huge area with ample of space or a special room. As long as you can find one quiet corner in your room to set up your desk and computer, it will work.
If you’re concerned by the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, you could consider an ergonomic standing computer workstation like the Rife Flexispot Electric Desk Workstation with German Motor or the Fitizen Zen Desk Standing Desk 2.0 – An Ergonomic Height-Adjustable Standing Desk.
You should understand the proper ergonomics for standing desks before you set up one. Arrange your ergonomic desk or workstation in the following ways to make it easier to work at.
Ergonomic Keyboard Position
The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 for Business is an excellent option for getting your typing posture right. The posture should allow the arms and wrists to relax resulting in less physical stress, therefore, lesser pains for joints.
The upper arms should hang naturally from the shoulders to avoid hunch shoulders. The elbows should be bent at roughly a 90-degree angle while typing on the keyboard.
If you are using a laptop, and the keyboard cannot be adjusted, raise or lower your chair until your wrists are straight while touching the middle row of keys.
Or you can get the FWQPRA® T8 Table for Portable Adjustable Laptop Table Stand Up/Sitting with Mouse Pad. The work surface should be just below your elbows, and the forearms should be parallel to the floor, while the elbows should be on the sides.
Ergonomic Mouse Position
The mouse should be placed at a proper height and your wrists should be straight, shoulders relaxed, and elbows by your sides. Keeping the mouse at the same height as the keyboard enables ease of movement provided there is enough space.
If you use the full arm motion to move the mouse, it won’t overstress the wrists. Using an ergonomic mouse and an ergonomic mouse pad helps in minimizing the strain on the palm and wrists.
Lighting is another overlooked area while designing an ergonomic friendly work area. Poor lighting can lead to eye strain and fatigue. At the same time, bright lighting isn’t helpful either.
Glare from various surfaces or monitor screen can be irksome. To avoid all these troubles, adjust monitor brightness and contrast. Keep the monitor height parallel to the line of sight.
Also, focus on the overhead and surround lighting. An anti-glare screen is always good to reduce glare which causes eye strain.
Glass anti-glare screens or filters are preferable to nylon mesh screens, which can reduce the clarity of the letters on the screen, making reading difficult.
Though home office ergonomics is a scientific theory, its application in our daily lives is very simple. The simplest way to adapt ergonomic principles is to keep your body in its natural form while sitting, standing or walking.
During prolonged hours of one monotonous activity, observe your body for any kind of pain or discomfort and try to reduce the activities which introduce this discomfort.
Ergonomics in the workplace is all about placing your body in a neutral posture and then arranging the home office furniture and equipment to work comfortably in that posture.
It not only helps in keeping your body free of any risks or injuries, but it also helps in improving productivity and efficiency.
Next time, if you feel demotivated or notice a drop in your productivity, focus on the ergonomics to see positive results in your home office design.
Charu is a newbie in the world of entrepreneurship and writes about Ergonomic Office Products. After a successful stint of ten years in software marketing, she decided to establish her identity beyond big corporations and designations.
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