During the first week of lockdown, I was a horrible home worker. And then I discovered a new passion – ergonomics. After a few months of reading up on the topic, I wanted to share 5 tips to help you feel & perform better when working from home.
1. Sit properly
For a lot of people, the average workday mostly consists of sitting in front of a computer. Here’s a quick guide to sitting like a pro:
- Adjust your chair’s height so your elbows have an angle just above 90° when your forearms are resting on the desk surface. Your knees should be bent to 90° and your feet flat on the floor. Don’t hesitate to use a footrest (stack of books, shoebox) if you need to.
- Sit as far back in the chair as possible. If your chair has a lumbar support, adjust its height to support the natural curve of your back.
If you’re sitting on your couch, correct your posture with pillows: put one under your buttocks and one behind your back to tilt your pelvis (this will help you not to slouch), and one under your laptop to bring the screen a bit closer to eyes height.
I would still recommend investing in an ergonomic chair or asking your employer to pay for it. Here’s why.
2. Set up your desk ergonomically
If you’re using a monitor, put it at arm’s length. The top of the screen should be at eye height. For a 2 monitors setup, put your primary display in front of you, and the other one on the side (same distance and height).
If you’re using them both equally, they should be lined up so you sit right in the middle.
For those of you who work directly on their laptop, use a stand to raise the screen. The same distance and height rules apply.
In both cases (monitor or laptop with stand), you’ll need an external keyboard and mouse. Consider keyboards that have an 8° angle to match the natural position of your hands. To complement it, an ergonomic mouse like the MX Vertical from Logitech is a great choice.
3. Kill distractions
Have you ever tried working with a noise-canceling headset? It’s simply amazing. And good old earplugs can do the job too.
Avoid reflections on your screen, disable your phone’s notification LED, close useless tabs,… Just get rid of the things that aren’t helping you to focus.
4. Watch the air temperature & quality
That’s not easy, but it’s important nonetheless.
If you have a thermostat, set it to 20°C. That’s the ideal temperature for office work. Otherwise, try listening to your body. You simply shouldn’t feel too hot or cold.
For air quality, treat yourself with a few plants. My personal favorites: rubber plants (ficus elastica) & areca palms (chrysalidocarpus lutescens). They’ll filter benzene, carbon monoxide, and other chemicals. That’s a recommendation from the NASA.
5. Keep movin’
Our body is made for movement. So keep this in mind throughout the day: go for a walk, do your calls standing,… Be creative to stay active!
You should get up and walk around for at least 2 minutes every hour.
That’s it. See you in the (home) office!