According to the latest Taking The Pulse of The Nation survey undertaken by the Melbourne Institute, 70% of Australians who are currently working from home opt to continue doing so, even when the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.
They’re not alone. Working from home, at least for a few days of the week, is the new norm all over the world. The thing is, while commercial offices are set up to optimise comfort and productivity, self-made home offices may not be.
If your home office is not ergonomic and set up effectively, working remotely can potentially raise concerns such as back pains, neck stiffness, tightness of shoulders and sore legs. These problems can affect your productivity levels, not to mention your physical health.
Fortunately, there are ways to transform your home office into a safer and more ergonomic workplace. Let’s discover how.
What is an ergonomic home office?
When it comes to remote working, having an ergonomic home office means you have a dedicated space in your home where you can work with ease and in comfort.
An ergonomic home office saves you from suffering work-related musculoskeletal problems like lower back injuries, muscle strains and carpal tunnel syndrome that can arise in home offices that aren’t set up correctly.
According to the Australian Government Comcare, these musculoskeletal injuries are caused by physical factors in the environment called “ergonomic hazards”.
Some areas of concern for ergonomic hazards include:
- Equipment layout and operation
- Lifting, pushing, and pulling (manual handling)
- Systems and computer programs
- Task, job and workplace design
- Workstation design and height
Building an ergonomic home office ensures you are using the right set-up that perfectly suits your needs and the type of job that you do. With an ergonomic home office, you can be more relaxed and productive – allowing you to not only feel great but also work well.
How to best set up your ergonomic home office
Based on the recent market research we conducted at The Home Office, around 38% of our 40 respondents ranked “ergonomics” as their top priority when buying home office furniture. A further 30% placed it as a 2nd priority, while 32% put it as a 3rd priority.
This means that many organisations and employees understand the value of having an ergonomic home office set-up to succeed and thrive with tasks at home.
But how can you build an ergonomic home office tailored to your requirements? What factors do you need to consider?
To guide you, we have compiled some home office tips from ergonomic experts:
1. Adjust your equipment to prevent head and neck injuries.
Minimise the risks of headaches and neck stiffness by making sure you maintain a good posture while at your desk. You can do this by placing your monitor directly in front of you, with the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level. If you are using a laptop, you can use a laptop riser for more comfortable and easy viewing.
2. Invest in a high-quality chair for back support.
As you spend most of your time sitting in front of your computer, investing in a quality chair is a worthwhile decision both for today and in the long run, rather than the cheap chairs you can purchase at a bargain. Here are some of the reasons why a superior quality, ergonomic office chair is a good choice:
- The build quality in a more expensive chair is superior compared to cheap alternatives, aside from load capacity it offers an overall greater support system as the chair frame is manufactured from quality materials that are more durable.
- A better designed office chair offers more foam longevity and will ensure the cushion doesn’t flatten easily – is doesn’t lose it’s shape as easily as a cheaper alternative and provides more comfort for you, in the long term.
- An ergonomic office chair has a substantially wider range of chair adjustability options (more than the basic tilt, swing, and lift options). You can customise your seat, back rest, lumbar support, arm and neck rests according to your height and build.
- If you compare a premium office chair to a cheaper one, you have more ability to customise the chair itself, such as a range of upholstery colours for the seat and arm rests, colour options for chair frame and different types of wheels best suited to the surface or flooring of your home office environment.
- A good ergonomic chair will give you a substantially longer warranty, too. After all – you’re invested in more expensive office furniture, and you’ll want to use it for a very long time.
The Home Office has got you covered for all of these and more.
3. Have a desk that you can use while sitting or standing.
Some potential health risks linked to prolonged hours of sitting, alongside back and shoulder pain, include obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Our experts at The Home Office recommend having an electric standing desk that you can adjust according to your height so you can stand (or sit) during your work hours and still be both productive and healthy. We offer an ergonomic standing desk that will complete your home office space from $675.
4. Use a footrest and allow for enough space for your legs.
A footrest is another great addition to your home office setup, as it enables you to rest your feet flat on the floor. Also, make sure you have enough room for your knees, thighs and feet, and that your seat is not hitting the back of your knees. This means not sitting directly in front of drawers and cabinets or in a cramped area.
5. Keep your essentials within reach.
Don’t stretch yourself to reach for that pen or tablet. Place your essential tools like your phone, printer and writing materials close to you, so you can comfortably use them for work without leaving your seat. To avoid arm fatigue, your mouse and keyboard should also be on the same surface – ensuring your hands are at or slightly below the level of your elbows.
Is your home office set up for you?
A study by McKinsey & Company stated that unfortunately, many of today’s home office spaces would not meet the needs of people working from home.
The benefit of having a home office is that you have the freedom to create it according to your bespoke requirements and style. You can easily design it in a way that balances form and function, using the right kind of furniture that will make you feel comfortable and productive.
If you need the right home office set-up, you can always rely on our specialist team at The Home Office. We can help you put together the best ergonomic workplace that will make working from home seamless and painless.
To help you select the best set-up, The Home Office has work-from-home packages that will make working from home, work for you. For as low as $645, you’ll have an ergonomic set-up, and you can say goodbye to back and neck pains.
Say hello to increased productivity with these ergonomic (and economic) packages from The Home Office.
Let us help set up your home office for success
By providing you with the ideal home office accessories furniture and decorating your home workspace, our team can set up the ideal office atmosphere in your home.