Home Office Setup

Working from home may easily lead to a compromise in the ergonomic setup of our work space, which can have a detrimental effect on your health and productivity. What is ergonomics in the workplace? In a nutshell, your home office setup must include a correctly adjusted ergonomic chair, desk and computer monitor. Here is a simple 3-step guide.

How to correctly adjust the height of your OFFICE CHAIR, DESK and MONITOR

1. Setup your Home Office Chair

FACT: Your chair and it’s setup is the single most important component of your home office.

home office setup
Home office setup

Your home office setup starts by moving the chair AWAY FROM THE DESK.

  1. Sit back in the chair with your back positioned properly against the chair backrest.home office setup
  2. Check that the gap between the inside of your knees and the front edge of the seat. It should be about 3 fingers wide. If it is more that 3 fingers wide, increase the depth of the seat by adjusting the seat slider forward to extend the seat depth. If it is less than 3 fingers wide, adjust the seat slider backwards to shorten or reduce the depth of the seat.
  3. Now adjust the height of the chairThe correct chair height is when both your feet (with shoes), are flat on the floor and your knees are slightly lower than the level of your hips. By sitting with your knees below the level of your hips you reduce the rotation of the pelvis which in turn reduces the pressure in the lumbar discs. What happens when you sit?
  4. Adjust the height of the armrests so that when your forearms rest on the arm pads, your elbows are bent at approximately 900. Your shoulders should be relaxed and comfortable – in other words you should not have to lift your shoulders (armrests too high) or let them droop downwards (armrest too low).
  5. Adjust the width of the armrests to suit your body shape. Ideally the arm pads should be positioned so that your upper arm is vertical and not extended too far outwards away from your body.
  6. Rotate the arm pads so that your forearms rest comfortably over the full extent of the arm pad.
  7. Adjust the tension of the swivel mechanism so that it suits your body weight. When you relax in the chair, you should easily be able to recline backwards without using excessive force. As you recline, the spring tension should “balance” your weight.
  8. Adjust the height of the backrest and/or the position of the lumbar support so that it fits snugly in the lumbar region of your back. Ensure that you keep the spine in a natural position. Don’t over or under accentuate the inward curvature of your spine. Back support for office chairs.
  9. Adjust the headrest into a comfortable position. Tip: Placing your head back and touching the headrest forces you to push your shoulders into the backrest and lift up your chest. This lifts your diaphragm which enables you to breathe better. Improved breathing leads to better concentration.

Now, and only now, move the chair towards the desk.

2. How to setup your Desk in your Home Office

Once you have set up your chair correctly, your desk or table is the next component in your home office that needs attention. Adjust the height of the desk to approximately the height of your elbows.

  1. The top of the armrests should be inline with the surface of the desk. In other words, just like your forearms were resting comfortably on the arm pads, they should now rest comfortably on the desk with your elbows bent at about 900.
  2. If your elbows are bent at an angle much greater than 900, the desk is too low. RAISE THE HEIGHT OF THE DESK.
    Do not lower the chair height because you will then sit with your knees above the level of your hips which will increase the pressure in the lumbar discs and quickly result in back pain. Furthermore, you will automatically hunch your back resulting in shoulder and neck pain. This is VERY IMPORTANT. If the desk is not height adjustable, use blocks of wood, old books, reams of paper etc, to raise the height of the desk. Alternatively, use a book or document holder to raise the keyboard and monitor. The pros and cons of a height adjustable standing desk
  3. If your elbows are bent at an angle much less than 900, the desk is too high. Lower the height of the desk. If the desk is not height adjustable, then RAISE THE HEIGHT OF THE CHAIR. This means that your feet will no longer be flat on the floor, so use a FOOTREST to support your feet. DO NOT let your feet dangle in the air.
  4. If you need to sit closer to the desk and only use the desk to support your forearms, lower the armrests so that they are under the desk when you work. Alternatively slide the arm pads backwards to allow you to sit closer to the desk.

The final step for a perfect home office setup is to adjust the position of your monitor.

3. Now adjust your monitor for that perfect home office setup

  1. The top of the monitor should be at eye level and approximately an arms length away.
  2. Tilt the monitor upwards at an angle between 10 and 200
  3. The monitor should be placed to avoid any glare from windows and other lights. Incorrect brightness and contrast settings on the monitor may result in eye strain.
  4. If necessary, use an adjustable monitor arm.

Your home office setup can improve comfort in your daily working life….provided you have the right equipment and it’s setup correctly!

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