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Setting Up a Home Office

The coronavirus pandemic has lead to a huge increase in home working. One important aspect of working from home is finding adequate space to work that offers peace and a level of privacy to ensure you are working comfortably. This is not always easy to find in a busy family household. We do not all have the luxury of a dedicated area or separate home office, so it is necessary to make the best of what we have available.

Home Office Health and Safety

One of the most important things to consider when teleworking is health and safety. Just because you are working from home does not mean you should no longer take care of your physical and mental wellbeing. There are a number of steps that can be taken, from setting up a desk/work surface to purchasing office supplies to organising your working day.

Work Station

  • Your desk and chair are probably the most expensive items, and the most important. Your computer monitor must be at the correct height to avoid back ache and eye strain. You can buy a monitor stand, or simply use a stack of books at the correct height. You may consider an ergonomic keyboard with keys angled to fit the natural bend of your arms. You can also buy a split keyboard with left and right sections that can be individually positioned. Your aim is to provide sufficient support for your back, neck and arms.
  • You need a comfortable chair at the correct height for the desk, and it must allow your thighs to sit parallel to the floor. You may need a foot rest if your feet are not able to lie flat on the floor. Some chairs come with additional back support and removable arm rests. You must also have adequate support for your elbows, wrists and shoulders.
  • If you are required to use the telephone as part of your job, a set of wireless headphones or earbuds will be beneficial. They will free up your hands for typing, and you will not have to cradle your phone between your shoulder and ear which can cause neck ache. You also need good lighting which will also lessen eye strain.

Vary Your Working Day

  • Try to get as much variety into your daily routine as you can. Do not spend too much time on repetitive tasks where you must use the mouse repeatedly on a particular action or movement over and over as this can lead to RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Try to break up your tasks which will give you more variety and will make the time pass quickly. If you have a period of data entry, break this up with reading or writing a report, or answering emails.
  • Sitting behind your desk all day is bad for your health. As a rule you should aim to stand or walk for about 10 minutes per hour. Try to switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. If you can afford it and you have the space, invest in a sit-stand desk which is adjustable and gives you the option of sitting or standing as you work.
  • You should take regular breaks away from the screen throughout the day. Experts suggest 5 minutes in every hour should be spent away from the screen to avoid eye strain and headaches.