Transforming your work-from-home office
During two years of a global pandemic, many of us have had the opportunity to experience working from home (in our PJs if that suits us). While recent studies have shown that many younger workers are keen to return to the office for the social connections and learning opportunities, many older workers would prefer to continue working from home or take up a hybrid working model of some days commuting to the office and others starting the day with a leisurely coffee and breakfast on the verandah before taking a seat on their home office chair, booting up the computer and getting to work.
If you’re one of those who are keen to ditch the daily commute, then it’s time to get serious about transforming your work-from-home office into your ideal professional work space. After all, a comfortable work space can help you feel your best and be your most productive. To do this successfully, you need to consider ergonomics.
If you sit behind a desk for hours at a time, you’re not necessarily doomed to a life of neck and back pain or sore wrists and fingers, but you do need the right equipment. Proper office ergonomics — including correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing and good desk posture — can help you and your joints stay comfortable and healthy.
Choose your office chair
Most important of all is your choice of office chair. Invest in the best you can afford and choose a chair that supports your spinal curves.
A synchro office ergonomic task chair is different to the traditional three-lever ergonomic task chair in that it has a dynamic moving seat &back tilt that allows you to move whilst sitting. The benefit of a synchro office chair is that you can sit upright in a supported fashion when performing desk work such as typing and using the mouse, but at other times you can dynamically move in the chair, preventing you from being in a static posture for prolonged periods of time and lowering your risk of developing musculoskeletal strains and sprains.
Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust armrests so your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed.
Place key objects
Keep key objects — such as your mobile phone, diary or printed materials — close to your sitting position to minimise reaching.
Keyboard and mouse
Place your mouse within easy reach and preferably on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below elbow level. Using keyboard shortcuts can help reduce extended mouse use. If possible, adjust the sensitivity of your mouse so you can use a light touch to operate it. Alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving the mouse to the other side of your keyboard every second day.
Using the telephone
If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck.
Add a footrest
If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor – or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest.
Consider your desk
Under the desk, make sure there’s plenty of space for your knees, thighs, and feet. If the desk is too low and can’t be adjusted, place sturdy boards or blocks under the desk legs. If the desk is too high and can’t be adjusted, raise your chair. Use a footrest to support your feet as needed. If your desk has a hard edge, pad the edge, or use a wrist rest. Don’t store items under your desk that could block ease of movement.
Placing your monitor
Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be directly behind your keyboard. If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor slightly for more comfortable viewing. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.
It’s your office so personalise it however you like. Add a favourite artwork, plants, and accessories to create a pulled-together space that will keep you feeling cheerful and motivated.
Even if you don’t work from home full-time and don’t need to dedicate a whole room to a home office, a smaller ‘home nerve centre’ for computer equipment and recharging mobile devices is a necessity these days. This could be a corner of a guest bedroom, a nook beneath a stairwell, a closed-in verandah or even a purpose-built cupboard in the kitchen or living and dining area. Just pull up your synchro office chair at any time to get to work.