A Guide to Work From Home Ergonomics

A Guide to Work From Home Ergonomics

Are you one of the 22 million people who work from home these days? 

It’s easy to let ergonomics slide when your office is just a few steps from your bed, but maintaining proper ergonomics boosts your productivity, enhances focus, and keeps those pesky aches at bay.  

Whether you’re working from your kitchen table or have a dedicated office, we have tips for you to ensure a comfortable and healthy workspace. 

It’s All About The Positioning

Proper ergonomics doesn’t mean buying big, bulky office furniture. In fact, most of the improvements will come down to understanding and maintaining proper positioning. 

A rule of thumb is to aim for 90-degree angles for your ankles, knees, hips, and elbows. Ask someone to take a picture of your posture when you work so you can learn where you may need to make some adjustments. 

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Think About How You Sit  

A chair can make a big difference in your ergonomics. You may just be using the chair at your kitchen table, but consider whether it’s well-suited for long work days. An adjustable chair may be a good investment, or you may just want to swap it out for a more comfortable chair you already own. 

When you sit down to work, here’s what to aim for in a seated position:

  • Seat height should be set up so your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Seat depth should allow for 3 inches between the back of your knee and the edge of the seat
  • Lumbar support should fit into the curve of your spine
  • Armrests should align at or below elbow level and allow you to sit close enough to your workstation. Your shoulders should be relaxed and not elevated

Remember that your feet should always be flat on the floor (or a stool if they don’t reach the floor).

Monitors & Screens

Don’t forget about your screen placement! Many virtual assistants and remote employees tend to work on laptops which aren’t usually the most ergonomically friendly. But don’t worry, with a couple of tweaks, you can make yours more comfortable.

Your monitor should be directly in front of you so you don’t have to look up or down or strain your neck. You can buy an adjustable stand to raise your laptop or set it on a pile of books. 

If windows or lights in your office create a glare, consider repositioning your workstation or getting an anti-glare screen cover.

When looking at the middle of your screen, your eyes should look slightly down while your neck remains straight. The screen should be arms-length away from your face while still being legible. To accommodate this, you may need to increase the size of the text on the screen and the screen UI.

Mouses, Keyboards, Etc.

If you’re following these steps, we think you’ll have noticed a difference already! Let’s move on to your desktop accessories. 

As a rule of thumb, your keyboard and mouse should be placed at elbow height. Make sure your wrists are flat and not angled up or down. If you prefer to work at a standing desk, you may want an elevated keyboard so your wrists can remain straight.

If you primarily use a laptop, consider using an external keyboard and mouse to avoid straining your wrists. There should be space in front of the keyboard for your wrists to rest on the desk or (even better) a wrist-rest!

The 20-20-20 Rule

It’s easy to spend hours in a single position chugging away at your task list, but try to practice the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes you spend looking at your screen, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This will give your eyes time to relax and will reduce eye strain. We love following the Pomodoro technique to incorporate break times into the workday. 

Customize Your Space to Fit You

Outside of ergonomics, here are some other things to consider to get the most out of your workspace:

  • Accessories: Add some office accessories that you really like. An inspiring and visually appealing workstation can increase creative thinking and innovation.
  • Plants: Studies show that plants improve accuracy. Consider adding some succulents or flowers to your work area! 
  • Temperature: Research suggests that 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature for maximizing comfort and productivity. Keep this in mind as you set the temperature of your space.  

As you can see, proper ergonomics when you work from home isn’t entirely difficult but a matter of small changes and habits. We hope these tips are useful and keep you ache-free!

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