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Whether you work from home fulltime or you just need an office where you can take care of household paperwork, bills and keep your records, setting it up the right way is important. Ergonomics are generally thought of as being a workplace consideration, but that’s far from the truth. Any office space should be set up ergonomically, and anyone using an office area will find that doing things the right way can protect them from serious harm. Here’s what you need to know before you start.
Plan Your Space Effectively
Whether you’re setting up a home office in a separate room or you’re making use of your living or sitting room area for an impromptu office, you need to plan the space effectively. Part of your considerations here should be to ensure that traffic can flow through effectively. Obviously, this is more important in an office that will share space with other uses, but even an office set up in its own room needs to maximize space.
Light is a very important consideration for any office environment. Ideally, you’ll set up your office in an area with plenty of natural light. Set your desk so that sunlight comes in behind the computer monitor, though. Setting it up so that the monitor actually faces a window will force you to fight a glare, leading to eyestrain. If your office area doesn’t have any windows, make sure you invest in good lighting. Several lamps should be used to provide illumination even in an office where you’ll be primarily working with a computer (with a lighted monitor).
Avoid the temptation to buy a cheap office chair. While a good chair will set you back $100 or more, it’s important that you invest in a quality chair with an ergonomic design. Look for an office chair with good padding in the seat, adjustable armrests, adjustable seat height and good lumbar support. The chair should allow you to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your arms at the same level as the desk. If you cannot keep your feet flat on the floor, invest in a footrest or opt for a shorter desk (or a desk with an adjustable height work surface).
When setting up your computer workstation, it’s vital that you have the right amount of space and the right alignment. The monitor should be between 20 and 36 inches from your face, and it should be slightly below eye level when you’re seated in the chair. Your keyboard and mouse should be positioned just under your hand level (with a negative tilt), and if you’re using a keyboard drawer, it should be large enough for both the mouse and the keyboard.
These simple tips will help ensure that you’re able to set up a home office that keeps you comfortable and prevents serious injuries over time. As far as décor and style go, feel free to go nuts.
We are all guilty of being glued to our computers and smartphones at the office. We work for hours on end, sitting in front of the glow of the screen without taking a break. When a person spends hours in one position working, they are not just hurting their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing. If you aren’t “taking five” at work periodically or even taking lunch breaks, here are a few reasons why you need to start doing so.
The Health Issue
Sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for the body. While you can buy a chair that is designed for maximum comfort for long workdays, you still need to get up and move around for your health. Just like on long plane flights, you need to move around for better circulation. Poor blood flow will only cause aches and pains in the body.
It might sound like a break won’t help with getting the job done. However, if you work for hours on end without a break, you might hit a few brick walls in the process. Breaks are key for actually getting things done. You become more productive if you take five minutes away from your job so the body and mind can refresh and tackle the task at hand.
Less Fatigue and Exhaustion
Our jobs can make us tired, especially we if never take a break from them. In today’s digital age, it can be difficult to unplug from the office. However, if you don’t get your mind and body away from your desk, you will only grow more fatigued and exhausted. Exhaustion can lead to other health problems down the road.
Jobs are stressful. We have deadlines to meet and tasks to accomplish. If you sit all day focusing on these tasks, your stress levels will build up. The mind and body need a break from work to avoid getting too stressed about projects, meetings, and to-do lists. Stress isn’t just mental, either. It can lead to physical health problems.
Recharge Internal Resources
When you don’t take breaks at work, your mind can never really recharge from the work you are doing. You need to detach yourself from work to recharge those batteries again. Walking around or simply taking a lunch break helps the cognitive resources to recharge.
Focus on the Big Picture
Many of us are guilty of getting lost in our work. We fail to see the big picture as a result. When you don’t take a break at work, you can lose perspective. Your relationships outside of the office can suffer, in addition to your health. A break at work helps you to see the bigger picture beyond the computer screen.
You might be working hard all day at your job, but that work isn’t always the best. Your product can suffer when you don’t take breaks. Fatigue can cause mistakes and errors that could be threatening to your job. Breaks allow you to catch mistakes more easily and produce a better product.
Finding the best office chair is important, since you’ll spend many hours working from it. Unless you have an ergonomist on call, it may be difficult to find a proper fitting chair for your body. The right office chair for you should:
- Support your body uniformly
- Allow for ease of movement
- Be easily adjustable
- Provide comfort in the long term
- Help you in maintaining your posture
Office chairs are available in many sizes and shapes. Consider these tips before you buy your new office chair.
Depth of Seat
Seat depth is essential to your overall comfort. If the seat is not large enough, it won’t give you enough support. If it’s too big, it will place pressure on the backs of your knees, causing discomfort. While sitting, measure the distance from the backrest to the back of your knee. There should be 2-3 fingers or roughly 1.5 inches between your knee back and the edge of the seat.
Height of Seat
Your new chair should let you sit comfortably with your feet flat against the floor, with a 90-degree knee bend angle. Proper seat height will achieve this. Measure the height from the crease at the back of your knee to the floor. Consider the types of footwear you usually wear to work. You will have about four inches of adjustment in a cylinder. Special ergonomic chairs may have an option for different cylinder height, which is helpful if you’re short or tall.
Computer users today often experience shoulder and neck pain if their arms are unsupported and elevated. Armrests support your shoulder and neck muscles, but they can also limit your access to the desk or keyboard. Armrests work best when they are at the same height as your resting elbow height.
The backrest shape should follow your back’s natural curve. Office chairs with “S” shaped backs do this well. Adjustable back rests or those with lumbar support will allow you to position the backrest to support your spine. A taller back will fully support your neck and shoulders.
Width of Seat
The seat cushions must support your frame in width and depth. A cushion that’s too small won’t give full support. One that’s too large will not allow comfortable use of your armrests. Check to be sure that the distance between the armrests isn’t too wide or too narrow.
Chair experts can help you to determine your ergonomic needs. In doing so, they will explain these facts in detail.
Adjustable Height Is the Best Height
Adjustable seating options are an excellent choice, since everyone has their own requirements. Your feet should sit flat on the floor while your back remains straight. A pneumatic adjuster allows you to adjust the height. From 16 to 21 inches from the top of the seat to the floor is a suitable size for most users.
Considering the Backrest
Consider the quality and measurements of the backrest when you shop for office chairs. The backrest should be 13 to 19 inches high and naturally support your spine. It should also give your lower back proper lumbar support.
Determine Seat Depth and Width
Your position in the chair is integral for your spinal health and overall comfort. It will also add to your job satisfaction and workplace productivity. The seat should support you completely when you are sitting. 17-20 inches as a seat width will fit most people.
The materials in the backrest and seat must be comfortable. Standard seat foam will allow most people to sit comfortably all day. If you need soft or firm support, choose chairs with triple density foam or memory foam. Mesh makes for a breathable chair, which is an advantage in a warm climate.
Last but far from least is lumbar support. It is actually the most important part of an ergonomic office chair. Without good lumbar support, you will slouch and this will strain the lower area of your spine. Adjustable chairs will help an office chair to meet your personal ergonomic needs.
In conclusion, if you have doubts about any office chair before you purchase one, consult with an expert before you make that purchase. Then your decision will be an informed one.
If you prefer an ergonomic office chair, perhaps an ergonomic keyboard will be helpful in making typing as pain-free and efficient as possible. You’ll notice a difference in the way your body feels after long desk sessions. What are the five main reasons that using an ergonomic keyboard will benefit you?
1 – Ease of Use
Most ergonomic keyboards will require you to adapt to them to a degree. You’ll have to determine whether these adjustments make it worth the mild hassle. How long does it take to get used to the different typing style and each keyboard’s differences?
2 – Proper Positioning
Keeping your hand and wrist in line with the forearm should maintain a neutral, straight position. This helps in reducing the stress placed on muscles and tendons. Don’t use wrist pads when you’re keyboarding, and leave the keyboard lifts in the back flat.
3 – Media-Control Pads and Devices
Keyboards are designed to facilitate typing, but many also have ways to use Firefox or iTunes without excess finger motion. Devices like media-control pads mean that you won’t have to use your mouse as often.
4 – Keyboard Layout
Some ergonomic keyboards have programmable keys that allow you to remap keys, with 24, 36 and 48 macros including a maximum of 56 characters. These keyboards can be switched between Dvorak and QWERTY layouts. These aid in typing comfort and ease of use.
5 – Keyboard Configuration
The natural wave of an ergonomic keyboard allows it to pivot on an axis. Some can be used as standard keyboards or configured into positions that fit your hands and arms more naturally. The best ergonomic models can resemble the layout of the most expensive keyboards without requiring any kit to expand the splay and tent of the keyboards. Using an ergonomic keyboard as a standard keyboard is beneficial when you have limited space.