Keep your mind & body in shape while working from home

Following on from the compulsory working from home during the recent health crisis, many businesses and employees through-out Coffs Harbour & the Mid North Coast are adopting this approach as ‘the new norm,’ albeit it may only be 2-3 days per week. So here are a few tips to keep your body and mind in good shape, and your productivity levels up.   

Start by choosing your optimal ‘work’ space – preferably not kitchen or living room where there can be too many distractions. Somewhere inviting, with good lighting and a comfortable climate will help you to be more ‘work-ready,’ assist your productivity and speed up your day.

How to best set up your work station at home

Ideally, you need an adjustable chair and desk, along with an external keyboard, mouse and monitor for your home office setup.

Tips on how best to setup your home office work space.
Optimise your home office setip for productivity and comfort.

Adjust your chair correctly

The minimum requirement is a chair with adjustable height and backrest. You are aiming for a 90deg angle at your ankles, knees, hips and elbows. The key is to start 90deg at the hips, so the whole spine, upper back, neck and head stack vertically above the pelvis, and your shoulders can relax, elbows resting 5-10 cm forward of the shoulders.

So firstly raise the height of the chair so your elbows are resting slightly in front of your trunk, bend to approximately 90 deg with forearms sitting parallel to the floor when resting on the desktop. Next, adjust the height of the backrest so the peak of the curve of the backrest is level with your waistline, and then the forward/backward motion of the backrest so it supports your low back when you sit upright (no slouching). Once you have these angles correct, you can subtly soften the angles by tilting your backrest back ever so slightly (3-5cm), and if fortunate to have a seat that tilts, then tilt the base forward 1-2cm so your knees are sitting just below the level of the hips.

adjust your chair
Learn how to adjust your chair for your work space

The optimal mouse and keyboard layout

Now, with your shoulders relaxed, your elbows slightly forward of shoulders and bend to 90deg, where your fingers rest should be the centre of your keyboard, with index fingers resting comfortably on “G” and “H”. You should also be able to comfortably reach the mouse, positioned adjacent to the keyboard but slightly closer to you. Your wrists should be relaxed, with your hands slightly raised and curved on your mouse and keyboard.

The ideal Keyboard & mouse layout
Optimise your keyboard & mouse layout for your home office setup

Adjust your monitor to the correct height.

Common advice is that sitting correctly as described above, your eyes should be level with or slightly below the top of the screen. Your eyes will settle just below this which is the most common area of the screen people work on. If you have an over-sized screen, then adjust the monitor’s height so your eyes are level with the top of the most common area you work on. Books can be used to raise the height of the screen. Also, tilt the bottom of the monitor slightly towards you (a 10-20 deg angle away)

Adjust your monitor correctly for your home work station
Adjust your monitor correctly for the most comfortable position

Are your feet flat on the floor after the above adjustments?

Your Desk may be too high – Once you adjust the chair, if your feet are not flat on the ground, you may need a footrest (or book/small box). Alternatively, if your hips and knees bend greater than 90 deg, you need to raise the height of the desk (or find another place to sit). A sit-stand desk can be a great alternative to allow changes of position.

Desk height for working from home
If your feet aren’t flat on the floor, you may need to adjust your desk.

Most Importantly when working from home is Movement & Hydration

Don’t forget to move! Prolonged periods of sitting is not good for our health, so remember, periodically get up, walk around, do some stretches, squats or lunges, get a glass of water. It’s good for us mentally, as well as physically.

For more information on setting up your home office work station, please read this PDF supplied by Safe Work Australia.