Considering the fact that we spend the majority of our week sitting at our desks and working, it is important that we make it as comfortable as possible. When you don't have a comfortable and ergonomic office, it can lead to long-term injuries and strains. As a result, you will stay focused and productive for long hours.
An ergonomic office is created while keeping your physical comfort in mind. And the good news is that you don't need to spend a lot in order to create such a space. In fact, you can even make use of items that are already in your home.
Therefore, whether you are working from home or in an office, here’s a thorough guide on how to set up an ergonomic office and all the affordable products you will need that will enhance your physical comfort and focus.
Why is an Ergonomic Office Setup Important?
Setting up an ergonomic office requires an initial investment, which might seem a lot if you are on a budget. However, when you consider all the health benefits an ergonomic office provides, you realize that you are saving all the medical expenses you might have to pay for down the line. And the great thing is that spending on ergonomic products does not cost you an arm and a leg.
These are some of the main benefits you can enjoy when you have an ergonomic office setup:
It relieves stress and allows employees to focus on the work and tasks at hand
Eliminates employees injuries, accidents, and health problems
Reduces backaches, headaches, eye strain, and more
The risk of poor posture is improved
Reduces the risk of diseases and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity
How to Set Up an Ergonomic Office
Now that you know about the incredible health benefits of an ergonomic home office, you might be wondering how to set one up. Whether you are working from home or in the office, you will need to find affordable products that aim to enhance physical comfort and accessibility. Here are all the areas you will need to focus on to set up an ergonomic office:
Office Chair and Seat
Let’s start with the most obvious and significant element of an office: the office chair. You need a proper seat for your office because working from a chair or sofa is not recommended. This can be uncomfortable and damaging to your posture, which means you will not be able to focus on work either.
The most important factor you should look for in an office chair is an adjustable height. It should be at enough length to allow plenty of legroom. Such a chair will also reduce the pressure on your back. If you cannot afford to get a chair right now, you can also prop yourself up by placing a cushion underneath.
You need to ensure that the soles of your feet touch the ground surface and that your knees are at a 90-degree level. Hence, if the chair is too high, you can also place a footstool.
Desk and Workstation
The next thing to consider is your desk. Again, the best choice is a height-adjustable office desk. You can even get a standing desk from FlexiSpot. It can allow you to work while standing up, which means staying fit while burning calories and enhancing your productivity. But that's not all; a standing desk has an adjustable height. This means that you can adjust it to the right height even when sitting.
The height of the desk should be the same as your office chair so that you can work comfortably. Other ergonomic tips for your workstation include reducing the clutter and decorative items on the desk and having an external keyboard and mouse if you work on a laptop.
As mentioned earlier, if you work on a laptop, it is best to get a separate external mouse and keyboard because it will help you maintain good posture. However, a laptop is fine, too, as long as you are not hunched over it.
If you work with a desktop, monitor placement is significantly important to avoid any eye strain, neck strain, and headaches. Make sure you don’t place the monitor in front of a window or another light source because that will increase your eyestrain. At the same time, the light source should not be behind your monitor either to avoid any glare or reflections.
If the monitor height is too low, you can place a book underneath to adjust the height. The monitor should be at eye level so that you are not looking down or up, which might negatively impact your back posture.
Another affordable tip to set up an ergonomic office is to focus on lighting because it will help enhance your comfort and mental health. In an office with a window and natural light, employees feel much better and more productive.
In terms of indoor lighting, make sure that you have soft, overhead lighting that is not too bright or dim. If you have non-computer-related tasks to do, such as checking paperwork, then you should place a lamp on your desk so that it provides direct lighting.
Believe it or not, even the temperature can impact your productivity and comfort while working. Your office environment should not be too cold or too hot because either of the conditions will leave you distracted. If you can control the temperature of your office, you should keep it at 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you cannot control the temperature, you can use other affordable methods to ensure your body is at a suitable temperature. For example, keep blankets or a rug when it gets too cold or drink cold water, and have a portable fan if the temperature in your office is normally warm.
Head and Neck Positioning
One of the most significant ergonomic tips to focus on is your positioning. To avoid any injuries in your head, neck, or back, ensure that your head is vertical to your neck because that will lead to the least amount of strain.
Similarly, keep your monitor at eye level to avoid hunching forward. While hunching might seem harmless at first, it can be detrimental to your health in the longer term.
Hand and Wrist Placement
Your arms should be resting on your desk whether you are working while standing on a standing desk or sitting. This will reduce the strain on your hands and wrist. You also don’t want a hinge at the wrist. Hence, keep the monitor and mouse at a distance. For these reasons, keeping your desk at the right height is important.
All in all, your arms, hands, and wrists should be in a neutral position. The arms should not be bent but rather completely straight. Even your wrists should be nice and straight.
Sitting Posture and Back Support
You should not sit at a 90-degree angle because that is a myth. Instead, what is better and more comfortable is one that allows you to see the screen comfortably and provides lower back support. Hence, you don't need to keep your back straight but rather lean towards the back, like in a driver's seat.
It would be best to place a pillow, towel, or cushion at the back for such back support. You can also buy inexpensive chair cushions that are designed for lumbar support. Additionally, keep a footstool so that your legs are not hanging down since that causes pressure on the knees and reduces blood flow.
Behavior and Habit Adjustment
Besides changing the furniture to more ergonomic-friendly ones, an inexpensive tip for an ergonomic office and environment is to change your behavior and the little things in your office. For example, you should take a short break between work, ideally after every twenty minutes, wherein you get up, walk, and stretch. Movement improves circulation and performance and reduces the risk of injuries.
Other than that, you should also keep a standing desk, such as from FlexiSpot, which will allow you to work while standing. You can switch to a standing position for a few minutes while working. You can create a cycle of working while seated for twenty minutes and then work while standing for about eight minutes.
The Bottom Line
All in all, setting up an ergonomic office might require some investment, but it will definitely be worthwhile down the line. You should get the right products, which will pay off since they will enhance your health and allow you to work comfortably with little distractions. You can also create an ergonomic environment by changing your habits and enhancing your surroundings.
If you want to switch your routine up while working, you should definitely consider getting the standing desk from FlexiSpot. It will help you make the most out of your desk while working and is great for video meetings where you need to sit for long hours. For more details, check out their website!