Monthly Archives: October 2012

My Home Ergonomics Challenge

I recently started a work-from-home routine where I’m in the office Monday thru Wednesday and home Thursday and Friday. Since October is ergonomics month, I thought it would be a great time to address my personal struggle to achieve home office ergonomics.

In the beginning, I wasn’t even thinking about ergonomics. I was simply looking for a place to sit and work for the day. So I started on one of my straight-backed kitchen chairs, the kind that is a little taller than a normal chair, with my laptop on the kitchen table. My feet couldn’t rest on the floor and my seat was so hard that I could barely sit for an hour comfortably, much less the 8 that I needed to work.

So I moved over to my desk and raised the height of my desktop computer with stacked books, attempting to create my own sit-stand station. But the keyboard was too low when standing and the monitor too high when sitting.

So then I went back to the laptop and tried standing at the kitchen counter, but it was also too low and caused the same problem as the desk. I tried the couch and the floor, and finally, my bed. So as I type this I half sit, half lay. And it’s the closest to a good solution that I’ve found. But even in this position I’m already feeling tension in my neck and upper back.

So I decided to seek out some advice for my ergonomics-less space.

Biggest tip? Sit up straight. Poor posture can cause back pain and damage spinal structures. The best way to correct bad posture is by bringing your tablet, mobile device or laptop up to eye level. A mounting device is a great way to position a monitor at the right height.

Another great suggestion is to use an external keyboard and mouse. It allows you to keep the monitor at eye-level and keyboard in line with your elbow.

And finally, pay attention to your chair. Ideally, your chair should provide adequate lumbar and arm support and slope slightly forward to facilitate proper knee positioning.

More tips can be found in Ergotron’s Comfortable Portable Computing whitepaper.

I’m encouraged that the suggested changes can be pretty easily adopted. I already know that better ergonomics leads to increased comfort, but I’m also looking forward to the increased productivity. So this weekend I intend to follow this advice and establish some better ergonomics at home.

Have you faced a similar home ergonomics challenge? Share your questions or favorite solutions below!