Abenefit2u's 'Rule of Six'
1. Phone (and headsets, earphones, wireless earphones).
Your phone should be in your hand, not cradled in your neck as you talk and type at the same time! Hold the phone correctly to chat or consider getting headsets/earphones or risk very painful neck spasms.
Where is your phone on your desk? Easy to reach? At the back of the desk because the landline does not stretch any further? Or perhaps your mobile is plugged into the charger so you keep stretching across to use it? Have your phone within easy reach, without having to stretch for it.
2. Chair (and office stool)
If you know you are going to continue working at home, invest in a good quality specialist office chair, with the correct back support, height adjustments and varying seating angles. If your table does not move up and down, your chair needs to. Most tables are one standard height but we humans come in all sizes. Move your chair up and down to a height that feels right for you. If you find this means your feet are off the ground, invest in an office foot stool as they should be touching the ground. A ream of A4 paper is a good free short-term alternative!
If you need to buy a new desk for your new home office, and funds allow, you may wish to consider a desk that moves up and down, choices are electric or manual. Not only does this allow you to alter the height when seated, it means that for a percentage of your day you can work standing. Research shows we all start to slouch after 15-20 minutes sitting at our desk and should get up at least every hour for 10 minutes for our good health.
Your computer screen should be directly in front of you, not to one side, so you are constantly twisting in your seat to see it. It should also be the right distance away from you. Sit as you would if working, and the screen should be roughly arm's length away. The top of the screen should be eye level so your eyes look downwards when viewing the middle of the screen. If you are required to have two screens they should be set next to each other, in a V shape, so if you look straight in front of you, you see both screen edges, and if you look right or left, you can view each screen.
5. Keyboard (with or without rest)
Your keyboard should be placed directly on the desk in front of you, and a comfortable distance away from you so when not typing you either rest your wrists on the front of the keyboard (if the style with a rest), or if the smaller without version (e.g. Apple), you can rest your wrists on the front of the desk. You should not rest your wrists when typing.
6. Mouse and Mouse Mat (with wrist rest or without)
Your mouse and mat should be close to your keyboard and you. Not everyone gets on with mouse mats with wrist rests, but they are known to be excellent for preventing wrist problems linked to long hours using a mouse. Trial both to see what feels most comfortable for you, the same goes for your mouse, we all have different size and shaped hands, select what feels most comfortable to you.
Abenefit2u team have all been working very successfully from home since the company's inception. Between us we have forty plus years working at home as opposed to a shared company office, and without exception we have all experienced some form of personal discomfort as a result of some part of our home office set up not being quite right. From the very obvious like a proper office chair to the less obvious like wrist support mouse mats, so we know quite a bit about creating 'a healthy home office' and really hope this article helps keep those of you continuing to work at home physically well in the months ahead.