How to Set Up an Ergonomic Home Office Space

9 min read
Updated: 08.03.2022

Existing reality leads us to work from home, which necessitates the novelty of establishing an ergonomically designed workstation in our comfort zone. 

When space is restricted in the home, office space might be used as a dining area or a general usage area. Hence, opportunities are endless when you educate yourself about the ergonomic use of spaces. 

Remember to incorporate ergonomics essentials when setting up your home office to lead a balanced, healthy working life.

Ergonomic Home Office Design: How Can I Make My Home Office Ergonomic

Whether you want to rearrange an existing home office or just setting up a brand new workstation, just spend some time before defining the tools and concepts you’ll need to operate efficiently, comfortably and pleasantly. 

Take the necessary moments to calmly envisage the environment that will put you in the right mindset knitted around what you do for a living in harmony with what makes you happy.

How an Ergonomic Home Office Looks LikeCredit: Unsplash

Remember that you don’t have to be a professional artist to have art and creative objects around you. Your home office is yours only, and you should consider setting it up in a way that makes your beautiful aura shine bright to its full potential.

Location of the Home Office Workstation

Forget about the office cubicle and reprogram how you think about your personalized home workspace. You’re gonna have to start with choosing the room or the corner of the house where you will be setting up your gear and character. 

Start with answering these questions;

  • The room/space: Is there an empty room, an attic, a window front or a blank wall available for you to set up everything?  
  • The background: Any windows with a calm greenery background? Or do you easily get distracted looking out the window and prefer to face a wall instead?
  • Lighting: Do you work your best in natural light (recommended) or in a tech-lighted dark room?
  • Noise: Any traffic or commercial noise that may distract you? 
  • Tools: Should you add new technology and ergonomic features to your user experience?

One of our home’s most significant sections has become our computer workstation set-ups. They’ve surpassed our beds as the location where we spend the most time. 

However, these areas are rarely given the attention they need in terms of functional design, and some aren’t even meant for comfort. In an ideal world, this needs to be fixed.

Positioning your Equipment

When placing your desk and chair, think about;

  • the ergonomic body positioning for your physical health,
  • directions that may mean something to you for a mentally/scientifically or spiritually comfortable set-up.

Office Desk Ergonomics

In case your corner is supplemented by too many tech gadgets, you can always spray paint or find covers for your favorite speakers and the many cables, place pot plants, hang a picture etc., in a nicely distinctive way to avoid the appearance of untidiness.

Ergonomic Desk Setup

The ideal set-up basically goes like this (check the image above):

  1. Your feet must reach the ground or be supported by a footrest,
  2. Head and neck should be straight and your shoulders relaxed,
  3. The hips should be at or slightly above knees,
  4. Your keyboard at or slightly below your elbow height, wrists flat at the keyboard,
  5. Your monitor should be an arm’s length away from you, with the top of your monitor at your seated eye height or slightly below.

What is Ergonomics

In its basic definition, ergonomics is the study of a working space and mindset adaptation to the necessities of a user

Ergonomics is essential since your neurological system is influenced when you work, and your body may be strained by an uncomfortable position or repeated motion over time. 

Due to its neurological ties, it would be wrong to define ergonomics based on spine or muscle health. Instead, it is a complete system that studies the adaptation of a human as a whole to work with certain tools while safeguarding our physical and mental health.

Which Parts of Your Body Need Ergonomic Support

We spend most of our time trading our intellectual energy, creating brain work while utilizing our experience and skills. 

This naturally requires long hours spent in front of a computer and we, therefore, need the basic home office essentials: A desk, chair, monitor, keyboard, mouse, phone and the printer. 

Home Office Essential - Must Have - WorkstationCredit: Unsplash

The office dilemma was that your desk wasn’t built or customized for you. Instead, the same desks were placed for everyone in the workplace. This isn’t the case in home-based office setups, and we can all set up our desks ergonomics to avoid pain later on in life.

Head & Neck

Everything comes down to the head, neck and shoulders block at the end. So, first, you need to adjust your chair to your desk according to your height. 

Next, you adjust the height of your computer screen. The trick is to have the monitor nearby, at your arm’s length, so you can read without giving your eyes too much work or bend forward your body. 

You want to raise the monitor up until the top of the screen matches your eye level. 

If your monitor is not adjustable in height, find a temporary solution to support it with books or a card box until you have the time to install a wall mount or find another permanent and good looking solution.

If you work from multiple monitors, consider how you use them. It would be ideal for putting the primary one directly in front of you. 

Otherwise, locate them strategically that lined them up, so you are in the center. 

It would be best to use a kickstand to raise the screen to the proper eye height for a laptop.

You can then attach an external keyboard and a mouse to it so that you can protect your head, neck and shoulders.

Back

The most important thing you can do to protect your back is to introduce regular habits and mini-exercises. 

If you haven’t yet invested in a proper ergonomic chair with back support, you need to get up out of your chair every hour. This is called the pelvic tilt. 

Get up and walk, get something to nibble on, get some water, reach out to the sky with your arms or whatever else you want but just get up.

Spine & Posture

You want to move from your elbow instead of your shoulder to prevent overuse or strain.

The key here is not to reach for your tools. If you’re on the phone a good portion of your day, you want to consider using a headset. 

Otherwise, keep your phone on the opposite side of your dominant hand. 

If you do not own an ergonomic chair with lumbar support, use a rolled-up bath towel or a yoga mat until you get a proper chair.

Hands & Wrists 

Mind your mouse and your keyboard. Where your hands end up is where your keyboard should be. 

Your mouse should end up right next to your keyboard. 

If you are using a laptop, remember that the small, connected screen and keyboard architecture causes users to be uncomfortable. 

The keyboard position is too high when the screen is at the correct height; similarly, the screen at the appropriate height is too low for the eyesight. 

This produces a continuous compromise between bad neck/head and hand/wrist positions. 

If you don’t have an external display, utilize a laptop stand. Then, at or just below elbow height, connect an external keyboard and mouse.

Feet & Knees 

Your feet must be leveled and solid on the ground. If they aren’t, use a step stool or a footrest to raise your feet to the correct hip angle while still maintaining a feet flat posture. 

Make sure to have enough space for your legs and knees.

Blood Circulation

Blood circulation is vital for your organs and general health. Working long hours without enough physical activity may disrupt circulation and cause a number of symptoms.

You can use a standing desk and switch between sitting and regularly standing because motion is essential. Also, take frequent micro-breaks. 

Make sure that you choose a chair with what is called a waterfall design which means that the seat’s front part touching the inner parts of your knees is downturned. 

Eyes

Ensure your workstation is appropriately lit. 

Take eye breaks and use the 20/20/20 rule by looking at something at least 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes spent on the computer screen. 

Mental Health: Reduce the Stress

You need to learn to regulate your mental stress caused by meeting deadlines, paying bills and spending time amongst too many electronic devices.

The Power of MindfulnessCredit: Unsplash

Take meditation and yoga breaks or play with your pet often. 

Placing pot plants, flowers and listening to soft, calming music also helps.

What are the Ergonomic Home Office Equipments

While we are stuck with the essentials (the desk, the chair, the computer and its accessories), you can always choose a stylish ergonomic desk chair combined with an electric standing desk that can be set at your favorite sitting and standing heights. 

Luckily for us, there is an immense selection of additional items available to turn our home workstation into a fully ergonomic set-up.

Mental Ergonomics Products
Credit: Unsplash

Ergonomic Home Office Chair with Neck and Lumbar Support

The first rule for working comfortably and safely from home is not sitting on a hard kitchen or dining chair. 

These weren’t designed for long periods of sitting, and your chair should have decent support for your lower back and be adjustable in height and backrest with your thighs parallel to the ground. 

There are some excellent desk chairs out there that offer both neck and lumbar support. Make it a priority to get one as soon as you can.

Ergonomic Home Office Desk: Adjustable Standing Desk

You should opt for an electric standing desk capable of memorizing your favorite sitting and standing heights. 

If you do not have access to such a desk, think creatively and resourcefully in order to have a temporary set-up to spend some of your working time standing.

Lumbar Support Pillow

Pillows can be placed behind your lower back, behind your knees, or in both places to provide lumbar support. 

It will aid in the preservation of your spine’s natural curve and relieve strain on your lower back. 

There is a good selection of ergonomically designed lumbar pillows you can choose from.

Ergonomic Keyboard 

Ergonomic keyboards should be placed squarely in front of you, with your shoulders relaxed and your wrists straight and parallel to your forearms.

Home Office ErgonomicsCredit: Unsplash

An ergonomic keyboard is made for those who want to prevent feeling pain in their hands, arms, neck, or shoulders. 

The majority of ergonomic keyboards have the standard QWERTY layout, although some have split keyboards.

Ergonomic Monitor

Ergonomic monitors can assist users in avoiding eye strain, improper posture, and tiredness because the ability to adapt allows each user with different demands and anthropometrics to achieve the ideal viewing angle.

Ergonomic Mouse

A typical ergonomic mouse places your hand in a similar posture to a standard mouse, with your palm flat.

Home Office ErgonomicsCredit: Unsplash

A vertical mouse positions your hand in a more handshake-like posture, relieving pressure on your wrist and forearm.

Ergonomic Foot Rest

The ergonomic home office footrest is a must-have addition for any workstation. It’s simple yet effective. 

It works on the idea that you are more likely to move your legs about during the day if you have more space to rest your feet. 

Bluetooth Earbuds

The truth is that cables are never long enough, and when they are, they create a visual mess and turn your workspace into a bowl of spaghetti. 

Bluetooth earbuds allow you to walk freely in your room or home when on the phone. So, you don’t need to adjust your position according to your cable length. You can follow the rules of ergonomics, instead.

Stress Reducers (plants, pictures, scents)

Whatever style you choose to follow, indoor plants make excellent workplace companions. 

There are numerous ways to set up a workplace. To create a warm atmosphere and reduce stressful elements, you can add a vibrant or patterned cushion to your desk chair and a slew of indoor plants.

Stress Level Reducer ProductsCredit: Unsplash

Make a unique addition to a creative workspace with frames, figurines, and a personalized mug. 

Around your workspace, utilize attractive fragrances and soothing scents.

Natural Light

As a general rule, it’s best to have natural light in your workstation and computer screens to avoid glare and maximize your connection with the outside world. 

You can also position your workstation in a way to maximize natural lighting through the window.

Air Purifier

It is hard to believe, but ergonomics doesn’t only mean physical positioning. Indoor air quality, for example, is one aspect we need to take into account.

A device that eliminates pollutants from the air in a workspace to enhance indoor air quality is known as an air purifier or air cleaner. 

These devices are frequently advertised as being helpful to allergy and asthma patients, as well as decreasing or eliminating secondhand cigarette smoke.

Air humidifiers may also come in handy depending on the climate of your location.

What We Said Until Now

We tried to emphasize the importance of ergonomics now more than ever in our new normality. 

Some of the keys to a healthy home workstation are keeping your eyes up, moving frequently, and ensuring your spine is supported.

Remember that ergonomics is not only about your physical health but also general well-being, which includes stress levels and relaxation techniques, whatever they might be for you. 

As much as it’s vital to keep to a working discipline, it is also of utmost importance to create a personalized environment with a conscious well-being routine.

But of course, you should see a medical specialist to customize the solutions to your unique situation if you have pre-existing or new back problems.

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