Your home office set up: How to create a healthy office space
It's time to rethink the way your home office is set up
Many of us quickly set up makeshift workspaces when we were forced to start working from home overnight during the pandemic. Now that working from home and hybrid working are the new normal, rethinking the way your home office is set up is vital for your health and wellbeing.
Not only should you consider environmental factors such as lighting and noise to boost your focus and productivity, but you should also ensure your set-up is ergonomic to reduce your risk of injury, pain and even illness. Tanya van Zyl, Injury Prevention and Wellbeing Specialist at Bodycare Workplace Solutions, shares her tips for setting up the ideal home office.
Things you need to consider
According to Tanya, there are two main factors you need to consider in terms of home office essentials:
Your work environment
“It’s important to look at the layout of your work area,” says Tanya. “Your work environment shouldn’t allow for glare or reflection on your screens and it should offer good lighting and sufficient temperature control. Always ensure that your workstation is free of tripping or falling hazards.”
It’s also a clever idea to consider the noise factor, Tanya adds.
A work environment that is free of loud or constant noises can improve your productivity and efficiency
Your office furniture and equipment
“Equipment that allows you to set yourself up ergonomically and can adjust to your individual needs is beneficial,” says Tanya. “It will allow you to stay productive and efficient throughout your day and decrease your risk of musculoskeletal disorders and pain due to improper posture.
“Numerous studies have shown that sitting for extended periods is detrimental to our weight, blood glucose levels and heart health, so having a workstation that allows for postural change throughout the day can benefit your health. A sit-stand desk or desk riser can allow for postural change without impacting productivity.”
Making your set-up ergonomic
If you don’t want to buy an entire new set of home office supplies such as furniture and equipment, Tanya suggests focusing on these ergonomic home office essentials:
Work surface or desk
The best desks for home offices incorporate three key factors: “Your work surface should be stable and large and it shouldn’t compromise your posture,” says Tanya.
Screen, keyboard and mouse
“Working on a small laptop screen can result in constantly squinting your eyes or leaning towards the screen,” says Tanya. “Monitors help minimise visual strain, especially if you have visual problems. Ensure your screen is set at an appropriate height and distance as well as in the correct position to ensure you don’t load your neck, shoulders and upper back when looking at your screen for prolonged periods.”
If you’re working on a laptop, Tanya recommends using a separate keyboard and mouse.
“When the laptop is raised to the appropriate height, a keyboard and mouse are necessary to minimise loading on the neck, shoulders and upper back,” she says.
In terms of the best chair for home office set-ups, the minimum requirement is that it be height adjustable to ensure you’re sitting at the appropriate height relative to your desk.
“Chairs can come with a range of adjustments that allow you to set yourself up ergonomically to your workstation,” says Tanya. “Ensure that your chair allows for good postural support as well as comfort.”
The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner.
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Tanya van Zyl
As an experienced exercise physiologist, Tanya van Zyl knows a thing or two about keeping the human body healthy. Passionate about occupational Bodycare Workplace Solutions since 2021. Her go to coffee is an almond latte.