Working from home can be a wonderful thing. Not only can you stay at home with the family, but you don't have to endure that ugly commute either. But it's easy to lose yourself in your work, spending hours on spreadsheets or analyses. The next thing you know, your neck, back, and shoulders are screaming in pain, and you've got to do this all over again tomorrow. Pain in your body isn't an inevitable result of working hard though. With the right office ergonomics, you can create a home working environment where you can work pain-free and productively.
Office Ergonomics 101
When you don't have the optimal setup, not only can you develop painful injuries, but you can also lose productivity. Here are a few tips on how to make your home office more ergonomic so you can make sure your body stays in tip-top shape and pain-free, even if you work long hours.
Pick the Right Desk
As long as it has a surface and four legs, then it's fine, right? Well, you'd be surprised how important it is to have the perfect desk for your home study room. If you purchase a desk that's too small and doesn't have any storage functions, you'll end up with a cluttered desk that barely accommodates your monitor or laptop. This can cause you to scrunch up when working, and you'll inevitably end up with lots of pain, especially in your shoulders and neck. When choosing a desk, look for one that not only has a large surface area, but also drawers. That way, you can put things such as pens, office supplies, and important papers into the drawers when you don't need them. You'll then be able to work with a clutter-free desk where you can position your mouse and keyboard comfortably (or place your laptop down in an optimal space).
Try a Standing Desk
Also, consider a desk with adjustable heights. Your body needs to be mobile during your working hours, and sitting in one position for long periods of time can also cause your body to develop aches and pains. An adjustable desk enables you to sit or stand to work so you get your blood flowing. When you can stand while working, it'll also decrease your chances of health problems, such as obesity, cancer, and diabetes. Plus, you'll feel more energized and motivated to push on with your work when you don't have to be stuck sitting for up to eight hours.
Position Your Monitor Correctly
If you have a desktop computer, the monitor should be at a distance where you only need to slightly tilt your head up to look at it. It should also be a comfortable arm's length away. These are also reasons why you need a good desk; if you don't have the room to move your monitor around, this can cause eye strain, neck/shoulder pain, and possible injuries in your arms and hands.
If instead, you use a laptop, you should still be aware and conscious of how far away your screen is, and the way it's tilted. it may be helpful to get an adjustable laptop stand so you can modify the height and tilt whenever you're sitting, whether it's in a bean bag chair, office chair, or in your bed. Laptops have the advantage of enabling you to work wherever you are, but you have to be careful of your positioning or it'll be detrimental to your health. For example, you may find it comfortable to lay down sideways on the couch with your laptop completely sideways. But within an hour, you'll find yourself hurting from head to toe.
Choose an Ergonomic Keyboard
Keyboards may seem boring and like any random one would work, but think about it: you'll probably be using the keyboard 99% of the time you're working from home, so it's worth thinking about and splurging on if necessary. While the cheapest ones available are flat and may not even have a stand to flip up in the back, there are some that cost up to three figures that are designed to make typing like a dream. These ergonomic keyboards are not only angled, but they're also split down the middle. Some are even completely split so you can place your hands in the best positions possible, separate of one another.
Choose an Ergonomic Mouse
The mouse is also something people don't usually give a second thought to. As long as you can move the cursor around on the screen and click on things, then it should suffice. So you might go for the cheapest mouse available, which is usually a small, uniformly round device. But these mice aren't meant for hours of work; instead, they're meant for a quick check on the internet while at the coffee shop. If you try and use these for hours on end, you'll quickly develop hand cramps, especially if you have large hands. Take the time to browse different types of ergonomic mice and try them out if you can. They should feel natural when resting your hands on them. Gaming mice can be good to go with since they're made for long periods of usage.
Have a Bean Bag Chair in Your Home Office
This may seem unconventional, but consider purchasing a bean bag chair for your home office. You can still have a traditional setup of a desk and a chair, but having a bean bag chair in the corner can be great for ergonomics. When you find yourself getting stiff from sitting at your office desk, switch over to the bean bag chair; this might be easier if you have a laptop since it's more mobile. Bean bag chairs will conform to your body and let you shift around easily without discomfort. Bean bag chairs can also provide you with different working conditions to refresh yourself. So if you find that you're getting bored with your office chair and desk, move over to the bean bag chair to get a new perspective on things.
Make Sure You Have Good Lighting
Without the proper lighting, you'll be more at risk for eye strain. The first thing you should check is your monitor lighting. You should be able to look at it for long periods of time without having to squint; this can happen if it's either too dark or too bright. Since natural lighting can change throughout the day, make sure you adjust the brightness frequently to accommodate that. The other thing you need to take into consideration is the lighting in your home office. If it gets a lot of natural light, then make sure you position your desk away from it so you don't get glare on your screen. If it's often dark, you'll need to pick up the appropriate lighting fixtures to reduce your eye strain.
Take Regular Breaks
Sitting for hours in the same position can cause pain and soreness throughout your body, even if you have the best ergonomics setup. Make sure you get up and do something different every few hours. Not only should you take regular breaks, but you should incorporate some light exercises into your breaks as well. When we're working, we tend to hunch over and tense up in one position for hours at a time. Use your small breaks as an opportunity to stretch out and relieve your tensed-up muscles.
Relieve Your Mental Stress
You can also "stretch out" your brain while you're taking these breaks. While it may seem productive to stare at the screen for hours without any rest, you might actually be less productive than if you'd taken a few short breaks. Doing something as simple as standing up and getting a glass of water can do wonders for your productivity. Since you're walking away from the screen, stretching your legs, and sipping some cold water, your brain gets refreshed and reenergized. Think of the short pause as an investment towards your future productivity.
Feel Comfortable and Be Productive in Your Home Office
By making sure your home office ergonomics is the best it can be, you're taking good care of your body. Working from home can definitely have its benefits, but it's easy to lose yourself in work when you don't have set hours or a commute to get to and from home. Getting a bean bag chair for your home office can not only be a fun addition but an ergonomic one as well. It'll help you keep your body moving, which is instrumental in keeping pain and discomfort away. Plus, it'll encourage your family to come in and hang out with you, since no one can resist a bean bag chair! If you're ready to pick out a bean bag chair for your home office, then take a look at our wide selection now.