How to Create a Productive Home Office with an Ergonomic Setup

By Cheree Bernard on April 2, 2021

Key Points:

  • The science behind ergonomics
  • Why is it important to create an ergonomic WFH workstation
  • The benefits of an ergonomic WFH workstation

Even though 2020 was a year for the history books, it also solidified the fact that change is inevitable, and how you handle it, is what can make or break your new 2021 experience with life as we know it.  

There have been a new set of challenges for the workforce population, the days of leaving the house, dropping the kids off at school or daycare, grabbing a cup of coffee on the way, and going “into” the office is no longer the norm. Hitting snooze a few times, rolling out of bed, getting the kids set up with their virtual learning, and then hitting the computer is now a way of life.

Finding the best location for all the new “at home” activities can be tricky.  

If possible, try to have a dedicated workspace/room. Clear the clutter from the area and keep it as organized as possible. This not only helps avoid distractions but will also keep you focused. If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated room – get creative, set a mood. Add items to your space that spark joy. Maybe add a diffuser with your favorite scent or essential oils. Set up a “work” playlist on your computer, there are several applications where you can customize it to your mood, the day, the genre, or even the artist(s).  

Create and keep a routine and try to set clear “working” hours versus “home” hours whenever possible. This will not only help you, but it will also help anyone else in the home to know the difference between the two. 

Make it comfortable! Invest in a comfy, supportive ergonomic chair; get a larger monitor so you are not using your small laptop screen. Make use of your vertical space too, not everything has to be sitting ON your desk, or table. Think about a desk adaptor, one that can give you more space or one you can move up and down depending on if you are sitting or standing. 

Make sure the space has good lighting, sunlight is the best, but if not – maybe invest in a LED or solar light that gives off vitamin D for those dreary, cold, winter months.

Ergonomics is very important to consider when creating or editing your work from home space. It is the science of designing a workplace, with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design to optimize well-being and overall system performance. The word ergonomics comes from the Greek word “ergon” which means work and “nomos” which means laws. It is essentially the “laws of work” or “science of work”. 

Proper ergonomics is important because when you are doing a job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement your musculoskeletal system is affected. Having an ergonomic workstation means that your desk and the things on it are arranged in such a way, that they prevent injury and are well within reach and use. If you do not have this, your body may begin to have symptoms such as fatigue, discomfort, and pain. Ergonomics consists of three parts: Physical, Cognitive, and Organizational.

Physical ergonomics – mainly focuses on human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological, and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. Building a better workplace/workspace = good for business and good for YOU.

Cognitive ergonomics – mostly concerned with the mental processes, perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system.

Organizational ergonomics – is mainly concerned with optimizing sociotechnical systems, including their organizational structures, policies, and processes.

Below are 2 diagrams showing the best ergonomic positions for you, your body, and your tools whether you are sitting or standing. I know we or you do not often think of our posture when we are concentrating on the task at hand but doing a few of these things a little at a time could help with fatigue, muscle stiffness, or headaches.

Your environment can have a big impact on your mind and your body as well. There is no need for a dedicated room, keep environments separate from the other happenings in your home; so even if you do not have space, you need to try and make the space yours, keep it neat – this will not only help clear your headspace and keep you in the zone, but it will allow more focus.

A girl with glasses standing in ergonomic work from home station

You CAN make WFH work for YOU!


Images from Canva

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