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The Home Office: A New Way of Working

April 11th 2011

In this day and age, it seems that more and more people are opting to stay at home and work as opposed to working in the office. With this being the case, it is not uncommon for people to spend more time in their home office instead of the usual amount of time that they would spend at their work office. The trend for companies to focus on ergonomic conditions for their employees is on the increase, as this has been proven to increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace as well as ensuring good health among staff. This being the case, these conditions should be replicated within a home office to ensure that employees remain comfortable and productive.

These simple ergonomic changes should help any home office to be a more comfortable and pleasurable place to work. The following information has been quoted from Giuli Krug, a professor with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the School of Health Professions. As you can imagine the first and obvious point is to ensure that the environment that you work in is tidy and aesthetically pleasing. This can mean posters of some of your favourite films or pictures of your loved ones. The idea behind this is that you create an environment that you enjoy being in. Secondly and just as important is to make sure that your workplace is well lit. Natural light is preferable, however not essential. To avoid a glare from your computer screen which can strain your eyes, make sure that the monitor is not directly under any light. This includes desk lamps that should be placed to the side of your desk. Another important factor that should be considered when working in your home office is the temperature.

When an environment is to cold, the muscles in our body become tense and vice versa, so it is important to keep your workspace away from any air conditioning vents that might expose your body to bursts of cold air. With regards to office furniture, It is of upmost importance to have the right chair, preferably one that has an ergonomic design. Ergonomically designed chairs will come with a lumbar support, with the majority being adjustable to fit the contours of your back to ensure that you maintain a good posture. As well as this, it is important that there is between 2 and 4 inches of space between the back of your knees and the front of the seat, so make sure that the chair has independent seat tilt and seat slide function to create the optimum position for your body. When sitting down, the bottom of your back should be adjacent to the back of your chair and with as much contact between the two as possible.

Your feet should also be placed flat on the floor to alleviate pressure on the back of your legs. A seat that has a rounded edge can help wit this. It may not seem important but as well as the position of your body on the chair, it is preferable to have a five star base as this distributes your body weight evenly. To include arms on the chair is purely a matter of preference, but if you do prefer them, it is advised that they should be padded and height adjustable so that your arms rest on them. This is because if they are to high, your shoulders will hunch together, ruining your posture. As well as the positioning of your chair, the positioning of you in relation to your desk is of significance.

The top of your monitor should be at eye level and make sure that the objects you use most are within arms reach. If you use a laptop, it can be beneficial for you to purchase a laptop stand to ensure that the keyboard is slightly elevated to reduce strain on your wrists. Finally it is important that you make sure that there is enough room for your chair to swivel, so when reaching into your pedestal drawer or cupboard you do not have to twist your body.

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