COVID & Health | How to Create the Ultimate Work From Home Set-Up
Whilst many have managed to return to the office, at least briefly, over the past few months, the Government’s announcement of an ongoing lockdown throughout the month of November, and speculation about further lockdowns over the Christmas season mean that most professionals will likely remain at home for the foreseeable future.
And whilst monitors balanced on books, using kitchen counters as desks and creating a crude workspace, only to have to pack it away at the end of each day worked as a stop-gap for a while, now is the time to properly optimise a place in which to be productive for the sake of your mental and physical wellbeing.
Yet according to new research commissioned by High Speed Training, more than half (53%) of workers have not been provided with the office equipment needed to enable them to work from home safely and effectively.
More than 2,000 people took part in the research nationwide, revealing that many have had to purchase office items themselves, such as a chair (29%) or a desk (27%), and one in five have even had to invest in expensive electronic items such as a printer (19%) or a laptop (18%). The findings revealed that a third (33%) feel neutral, unhappy or very unhappy about their home working set-up.
Research earlier in the year by the Institute of Employment Studies noted how evident the risk to injury can be without a well-thought-out physical working environment. 55% of those surveyed reported aches or pains in their back, 55% have had headaches or migraines and 58% have had aches and pains in the neck.
So, how can you optimise your remote working space to stave off these negative effects?
Ensure the monitor is central on the desk and within easy reach with the user when sitting in a neutral position. Eyes should be level with a point on the screen that is 2” to 3” below the top – this allows for head, neck and shoulders to be relaxed.
Chairs should be padded, free-moving, and stable, with adjustable height and lumbar support for the user’s lower back. The user’s feet must sit flat on the floor or propped up on a comfortable footrest.
The mouse must be positioned close to the user so that they do not have to stretch to use it, allowing for the elbows to rest at a slightly open angle. If the user is using a laptop, a plug in USB mouse is preferred to allow for the best shoulder posture.
The user must sit so that elbows are at a right angle when typing. Shoulders, back and arms must be relaxed to not place extra strain on important muscles and joints. As with the mouse, the keyboard should be placed within easy reach of the user, so they do not have to stretch and so that their wrists are supported on the desk.
Desks should have adequate height underneath to accommodate legs with plenty of room left over. Desk surfaces should not be made from materials that cause constant reflected glare to the user’s eyes. The room should be well lit, preferably with natural light, to aid eye health and prevent eye strain caused by screen time and a constant room temperature kept to prevent bad posture.