When I moved into this house I was SO excited that we chose a place with enough room to set up my own home office. Don’t get me wrong, I had a workspace at the last house with a small desk and computer, but it was open to the rest of the house where I was easily distracted by the craziness that often invades my home. Here I finally have a separate room that is all my own.
Like many of you, I’m sure, I started searching décor ideas, fell in love with the PERFECT floor mat and the colour scheme that I just knew would work out perfectly. I became completely wrapped in the aesthetic and the excitement while overlooking one VERY important topic. Working from home means that I spend A LOT of time sitting at that desk. So, I would never hear the end of it from my massage therapist if I didn’t set it all up in a way that kept me safe, comfortable and injury-free!
If you are familiar with the concept of ergonomics, then you already know what I’m talking about. However, for those of you who haven’t heard of this phrase before, it refers to an actual science in which experts assess a work environment and the way in which it impacts those who are working there. For example, is your computer screen at an adequate height when you are working, or are you experiencing neck pain from staring down or up into your screen.
Many of us don’t even realize the ways that our workspace is actually straining our body! I know I didn’t until my last employer actually brought an ergonomics specialist. So, in the spirit of hopefully helping all of you avoid any unnecessary injuries, I’m going to share a little of this knowledge with you!
This is the one area where you likely have seen the word ‘ergonomic’ before as an increasing number of brands are marketing their ‘ergonomic chairs’ to businesses and individuals alike. Now understand you don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive chair on the market, you just need to watch for a few key points.
First, and arguably the most obvious, you want a chair that is going to be comfortable to sit in for long periods of time, so select something with a comfortable cushion. Select a chair that gives you options to adjust the seat height, backrest, and armrests (and yes, you want armrests). This will allow you to adjust the chair so that it fits you rather than trying to fit the chair yourself. You want your feet flat on the floor (or a footrest if needed0 with your arms comfortably at the height of the desk.
Furthermore, you want a chair with adequate lumbar support. This is incredibly important to avoid back injuries, so don’t overlook it! If you do like a chair that is lacking this feature, you can purchase lumbar support separately to add it to your chair.
Finally, you want to ensure that you have a chair that can swivel or roll around. This will allow you to reach further and access everything without having to bend or twist awkwardly. Why set yourself up to have to work around your chair when you can make the chair work for you.
Believe it or not, selecting a desk is more than just a flat surface to toss your stuff on. You want either a desk with an adjustable monitor stand, or you will want to add a monitor stand to your desk. Your screen should be approximately an arm’s length from where you are sitting. Select a spot on the monitor approximately 2-3 inches from the top of the monitor. This is the spot that should be at eye level in order to ensure that it is at the right height. If you, like me, prefer to use a laptop but know you will be seated in an office for long periods of time you will want to purchase a laptop stand, keyboard, and mouse so that your computer can be set up with the screen at the right height.
Also, pay attention to any glare that you may see on our screen. If your monitor has the option to tilt slightly, avoiding the glare, put this to work. If not, you can either use strategic lighting in your office to eliminate glare, or you can purchase a monitor anti-glare cover.
Your mouse and keyboard should be placed as close to one another as you can to avoid having to reach, straining yourself. There is actually a trick to where your keyboard should be. Looking at the keyboard, locate the ‘B’ key. This is the spot on the keyboard you want to center in front of you, not the center of your keyboard.
As for the height of your desk, refer back to the description in the ‘chair’ category in relation to how you should be seated in your chair. Your arms need to rest comfortably at the height of your keyboard and mouse, so use the height both of your chair and desk to achieve this.
You want there to be plenty of room on your desk not only for your monitor, keyboard, and mouse but for everything that you need to be close at hand. Don’t worry about buying the most expensive ‘ergonomic desk,’ nearly any desk can be made ergonomic so long as you have enough space for everything that you need!
I have been having so much fun getting everything set up here. I spoiled myself purchasing a chair that wasn’t only ergonomic but also heated and with 6-point massage. I bought a super simple desk, but it has more than enough desk space, and as of last week the packages started rolling in with my USB keyboard and mouse. Not only am I choosing some fun décor items to make my office look great, but it is going to be incredibly functional at the same time! Win/Win!
Oh, and to answer your question, no the picture here is not my office. My office is still a mess of boxes slowly being unpacked and put together at this point… Once I do reach the point of putting it all together I will definitely do a post sharing photos!
What set up do you currently have for your workspace? Have you ever considered the ergonomics of your home office and the impact it may have on your overall well-being?
37 thoughts on “Office Ergonomics: Tips to Optimize Your Home Office”
I love having a proper home office, though unfortunately it doubles as storage, my craft room and the coat / hat room for all our bits so there’s not much room left over!
Mine is also my craft room but I’m getting creative with craft storage to keep it all tucked away when not in use lol
I’m actually really in need of a new chair for my desk. The one I have currently is so low and so I just end up not working at my desk because it’s annoying!
Definitely should if it is keeping you from wanting to work at your desk!
[ Smiles ] I need to get myself one of those ergonomic chairs.
Anyway, what about those of us who like to use our laptop computer in bed?
You want to have proper back support, so set up your pillows to sit straight as you would in a chair, you can roll up a towel for lumbar support, and a proper laptop stand to put it at the right level as if you’re seated at a desk. That being said, there is no fully ergonomic way to use a laptop in bed so it shouldn’t be used as an ongoing work station for long stretches of time
I really need to vamp my work space! Very helpful post 🙂 xx
That’s my big 2018 goal – to finally finish my office
I don’t work from home but my boyfriend does. He actually had a desk that moves up and down so he’s able to stand if he needs to. I’m not sure how much he utilizes it but it’s definitely something that’s nice to have!
Definitely! My laptop stand is adjustable so I can raise my laptop up to work standing at times that I want to as well and there are days I LOVE it
I love this post, I’m definitely going to refer to this when I have a dedicated office area!!
I’m trying to be good and get it all fixed myself now hahaha just ordered in a new laptop stand for my desk
Deffo need to get a proper space for work!
It really does make a huge difference on your productivity I find
Just read your post on dog photography which I have taken tips from so when I get my own dogs, I get good pictures.
Now I’m taking these tips for when I move out and get my own place. I LOVE decorating and really interesting to hear other tips/ideas.
A swivel chair is a must!
Not only is a swivel chair a must, I HIGHLY recommend heat and massage when you do get your own place hahaha SOOO worth it!
great post! I must remember to look back at this post when I finally get a little office of my own, right now its a spare table and the floor hah
That’s how my set up was for a long time. So excited to have my own space now!
Great post! I don’t have a home office 🙁 maybe in the future!
I didn’t have one in the last couple houses, so it’s been a huge perk with this house!
I need a home work space desperately – the couch just doesn’t make for the best “quiet place”.
What about separating off some space using one of those temporary room dividers?
These are excellent tips, having an office at my home is wonderful. I am looking to get it all equiped with ergo furniture so I can work comfortably there for hours.
Best thing I did was get a chair/desk set up that was ergo for my own office! I love being able to work in there without any worries
I need to start using my office more and not my sofa!
I have to watch because I can get into the habit of staying in my lazy boy lol
Good advices Britt! I know you pain with your previous office which was open to the rest of house. I had the same problem and it was sooo annoying. Now I have better office and good chair but still need a new desk (my current is too high and I’m quite small person). Btw. what chair do you use?
My current chair is a by ‘HOMCOM’ – it’s described as a “Racecar Styled Heated High Back Executive Massage Office Chair”
Good reading. These tips are really helpful. I have office at home and now i know what to do with it.
Glad I was able to help! Good luck with your home office!
Good tips Britt. Now I know to arrange my office at home in a better way.
The trend of working from home and freelancing is catching up. More and more people are looking for flexible job options and, in such cases, furnishing the home office well is an important aspect. Thank you for sharing such information in this blog. Very helpful indeed. Great share!
Thank you, it’s definitely a key part of working from home!
Ohh great….All the mentioned tips for office ergonomics are just amazing and worth to consider. Thanks for sharing in a detailed way.
With a doubt, an ergonomic office chair is a must in every office. We can’t sit whole day without being comfortable and that’s what an office chair provides to you.
Thanks for all these amazing tips.
Definitely! I’ve also recently purchased a standing desk attachment for my desk, and having the option to sit or stand throughout the day has made a big difference!