Setting up your workstation at home

Since the implementation of the traffic light system, many businesses are encouraging their workers to continue working from home and spending less time in the office.

It’s even more important to make sure home offices are well set up to reduce the likelihood of discomfort, pain, or injury. 

Here are four key points when setting up an ergonomic workstation. 

1. Choose a suitable work surface. 

‘A good desk needs to be at least 720mm high,’ says Working Wise Managing Director Jeena Murphy. ‘That might be too low for a tall person. But there are ways around that. I am a big believer in using reams of paper to build up the height of your keyboard and your mouse. It’s not fancy, but it works.’ 

Posture is important when using your computer. Your upper arms should be in line with your torso and your forearms parallel with the desk and keyboard.

Keep your mouse close and don’t let it creep away. Move the mouse by keeping your wrist and forearm neutral and move your whole arm, not from the wrist.

2. Pick the right chair

She suggests taking your office chair home for your work-from-home period, as the office chairs will usually be better quality than home furniture.

‘If you are not in that situation, your chair must have a gas lift, the back must be height adjustable, and have a proper lumber support. Sometimes people go and buy a chair because it looks lovely, but it has got a completely flat back, and there’s no lumbar support.’

‘You’ve got to have at least two levers, adjusting for the height in the back and being able to adjust the back support angle.  If you cannot afford a footrest, you can improvise with boxes, pillows or a suitcase, anything that will keep your legs at right angles.’

3. Setting up your monitor and workspace

‘As a general rule, your eyebrows should line up with your computer screen’s top toolbar, which keeps your neck in a neutral position. If your monitor isn’t at the right height, use what you have at home to raise it.’

‘Those plastic storage tubs, you can turn them upside down and put your monitor on that. There’s always away.’ says Murphy.

‘If you wear graduated lenses, you may need your screen lower to avoid continually looking up and down.’

Power cords can be a trip hazard, so ensure you’ve tucked them away. Use a power panel with a safety switch but don’t overload it.

4. Tips for standing.

Make sure your upper arms are in line with your torso and forearms parallel with your keyboard.

Use an anti-fatigue mat or footrest when standing for extended periods if possible. Keep hips flat and in line with shoulders/feet. Read our blog post ‘The Truth Behind Standing Desks’ to find out more.

We also recommend you take microbreaks and stretch, and we have helpful information in our blog S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S.

If you are unsure of your working from home set up, your employer may offer assessments of your home office. Working Wise can help with virtual workplace assessments too. 

‘I know a Zoom assessment sounds funny, but our nurse will help you set up in the best way possible and using the stuff you have around home,’ says Murphy.

Our qualified workstation assessor can make specific suggestions about product options to suit you. You can contact us by requesting a workstation assessment here.

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