Ergonomics (Home) Office

We could be staying in the home office for while longer. It’s a shame we cannot predict the future, because so many I talked to did not invest into their ergonomic home office, simply because they didn’t expect to stay there that long.

Maybe you are not in the home office temporarily, but you are considering starting your own business (or have just dared to take the step or are a seasoned entrepreneur already) and are wondering which ergonomic investments are still necessary to have an ergonomic home office.

⁠⁠⁠⁠Unfortunately, the subject is often neglected when you start your own business. There are just too many other investments to consider. I often hear, yes, I’ll buy an ergonomic chair once things go well. Until then, the dining chair will do.⁠⁠ Until then, your neck hurts, your shoulders are tense and your eyes burn.⁠⁠


Here are my ergonomic investment tips for (not only) the home office and entrepreneurs.⁠

➡️  Try to set up your workplace where you can work undisturbed.

➡️  If your budget somehow allows, invest in a height-adjustable table. They are now also available at affordable prices. You can choose between fixed-height and height-adjustable writing / standing tables. From my point of view the latter would be the ultimate.⁠⁠

➡️ Especially if a height-adjustable table is not an option, invest at least in a really good, adjustable and ergonomic work chair. Regardless of whether you choose an office stool, chair or a luxury model, your body will thank you for it.⁠⁠

⁠⁠➡️ Depending on how short you are, consider buying a footrest so that your feet rest flat on the floor when you are sitting.⁠⁠

➡️ When you buy any piece of ergonomic furniture, get a detailed explanation of how to properly adjust your new ergonomic piece of furniture. Because unfortunately you can sit wrong even with the best ergonomic furniture.⁠⁠


My aim (and that should be yours, too) is to protect you and your body from discomfort or even pain, which can develop over time if you are not working ergonomically. ⁠⁠Of course, you can go to an ergonomic supply store and buy what you need. But there are many things you can do at home without spending tons of money. ⁠⁠


Just because you have ergonomic office furniture, it doesn’t mean you are using is correctly. ⁠⁠The best ergonomic equipment is only effective if you use it correctly.⁠⁠


So what should you pay attention to?


Your feet should be flat on the floor and you are sitting straight with your thighs parallel to the floor.⁠⁠
If you don’t have ergonomic office furniture, you might have to be a little creative to make sure you have a good ergonomic set-up (see desk set-up)⁠.⁠
Ideally, especially in the home office, you are wearing flat shoes or no shoes. ⁠⁠
If you are a small person, invest into a foot rest or improve using books, a box, pillows or blankets, to make sure your feet are flat and supported. ⁠⁠



Your desk surface should be at elbow height whether you are seated or standing with your lower arms in a slightly tilting downwards position. ⁠⁠
Most of us do not have a height-adjustable desk in the home office. You can improvise by⁠⁠
sitting on a pillow or a folded blanket (if you are too low) or⁠⁠
raising your desk surface by placing books under the table. ⁠⁠
Are you able to fit your legs and feet comfortably underneath the table? ⁠⁠



Try to avoid glare on the monitor. ⁠⁠
⁠⁠Avoid working on your laptop the entire time. ⁠⁠
⁠⁠If you cannot invest into a separate computer, here are some tips to improve your ergonomic laptop set-up:⁠⁠
Invest into a detachable keyboard, mouse and trackpad (if you are used to working with one).⁠⁠
Buy a height-adjustable laptop stand, which has several height levels. There are different types, some very simple version that don’t cost a fortune. I use mine also during video conferences or webinars so my laptop camera is at the right height level (I’ll share the one I use in a story). ⁠⁠
⁠⁠Place your monitor at least one arm-length in front of you. If you work on two (or more) monitors, place them centrally in front of you. ⁠⁠
The upper edge of your monitor should be slightly below your eye level. Using a height-adjustable laptop stand makes this much easier to achieve. ⁠⁠



Place your keyboard so that your wrists are straight (not tilted up, which happens when you elevate your keyboard by using the keyboard’s feet). Your keyboard should be flat or even have a negative tilt. And yes, it takes time to get used to that!⁠⁠
Your arms should hang naturally next to your body and your hands and fingers can easily reach it. ⁠⁠
If your wrists are tilted despite the mentioned set-up (or even hurt), consider investing into a wrist rest (or roll up a small towel to help you achieve the correct wrist posture. ⁠⁠Some wrist rests also come with a mousepad. ⁠⁠
Your computer mouse should be placed close to your keyboard and should be easily reached.⁠⁠

⁠⁠Hours of intense activity in front of screens lead to eye and body strain with dry eyes, headaches, tension in the neck, shoulders and the back. ⁠⁠

⁠⁠Our eyes are one of the most important ways to interact with our environment. These precision tools need to be cared for and looked after. ⁠⁠


Take care of your eyes?

⁠⁠If you work on screens a lot, think about the size of your screen. Important: the bigger the screen, the better the resolution has to be.⁠⁠
Adjust your display settings with a contrast as high as possible. Adjust the font style and size so you can EASILY read everything. ⁠⁠
Do you already have glasses? Wear them! Have your eyes checked every three years. ⁠⁠
Do not use your reading glasses for computer work: reading glasses are adapted for sharp vision at a normal reading distance of around 40 cm. ⁠⁠
If you have bi- or varifocals, talk to your optician, you might need a second “computer” pair. Bi/varifocal glasses are adjusted for different distances than that of your monitor and to be able to read, you (subconsciously) hold your head a tensed, unnatural position, which very quickly leads to neck discomfort. ⁠⁠
Sometimes adjusting the tilt of a monitor helps when wearing bi/varifocals. ⁠⁠


You and your eyes benefit from a good room climate:⁠⁠

Daylight is ideal. With age, we need more light, so adjust so that your eyes don’t feel strained. Technically, the illuminance should be at least 500 lux.⁠⁠
Room temperature should be around 21℃. ⁠⁠
Humidity levels should be 40 to 65%.⁠⁠


To avoid “computer” eyes, follow the 20-20-20 rule.⁠⁠

Every 20 minutes (when working on a screen), look away at something that is 20 feet away for a total of 20 seconds.⁠⁠


⁠⁠Sitting, standing or what now?⁠

There’s plenty of information out there about which position at the desk is best but there’s also quite a bit of contradictory information out there. ⁠Sitting makes you sick, fat and stupid. I don’t know anymore where I read it but such a statement is more than questionable.

There is no doubt that sitting for too long has a negative impact on our health: it’s been linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and even some types of cancer. ⁠

Standing for a long time puts strain on your spine, compresses your intervertebral discs, puts strain on your muscles, joints and feet, and your heart has to work harder against gravity. It leads to an inactive muscle pump which is responsible to compress and relax the blood vessels to support blood circulation resulting in “heavy legs” (which can lead to varicose veins).⁠

⁠But don’t despair: you can learn to spend healthy days at your desk: an ergonomic workplace, good posture and most importantly dynamic sitting …. and standing against the movement monotony. ⁠

How to “Dynamic sitting”

rock back and forth on your chair⁠
stretch your legs frequently ⁠
change your sitting position frequently ⁠
take short breaks from sitting and stand up⁠
make phone calls while you stand⁠

How to “Dynamic Standing”

shift your weight regularly from one foot to the other⁠
alternately roll your feet over from heel to toes⁠
stand on tiptoe and try to keep your balance⁠

⁠So really, whether you sit (nearly regardless on what type of a chair) or stand, the most important thing is moving. ⁠


Posted on March 08, 2021 by admin

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