Setting up an Ergonomic Workstation at Work or Home

Creating an ideal work space at work and at home with proper ergonomics in-mind can be critical for physical health. As most employees are now working from home, it is important to consider the ergonomic setup of your new working space.

Understanding that not everyone has a pre-existing home office or dedicated desk, please see the below information and simple steps you can take to help optimize your space when working at home. The items that you choose for your home office or study space should be designed to promote your health, optimize your posture, and improve your comfort when working at home.

The first step of the ergonomic evaluation is a quick online course to help you gain awareness regarding the common hazards associated with working in offices and adjustments for your work space. Click the training link here: CSU - Computer Workstation Ergonomics

Secondly, please take a moment to review the additional resources available to make your new working space as ergonomically correct as possible.

Additional Resources:

What Is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is a branch of applied science that deals primarily with designing and arranging things that people use regularly. The purpose is to ensure that people interact with objects, tools, and work or living spaces in the most efficient, safe, and healthy way possible. It enables workers to have a tight grip on tools, better posture in chairs, and more access to effective equipment they may be required to use daily.

Physical Health Benefits of Home Office Ergonomics

Proper ergonomics lowers the risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) as well as the costs associated with them by preventing the primary risks that cause them. These are disorders like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, occurring when a person repeats the same motion continuously while maintaining an improper posture (like typing on a desktop computer in your home office).

By focusing on proper ergonomics at home, the body inherently has better posture, allowing your body to stay aligned and decrease discomfort and pain. Creating a proper home work space can reduce overall stress and help you stay focused, which could help increase your engagement and productivity.

Take Work Breaks for Good Health

No matter how optimized your workspace ergonomics are, it’s important to take mental and physical breaks. Sitting for an hour or longer without moving can put stress on the body. Breaks don’t have to be complicated; they can be as simple as standing up and walking around a bit or doing some stretches. The purpose of breaks is that when you sit back down, you will be in an entirely new posture, giving your body rest when it needs it.

Short and frequent breaks to move around during a study session can be more beneficial than longer, more infrequent breaks. Researchers recommend that you give yourself 10 to 15 minutes for every 60 minutes you are working. Break up your sitting time by using the restroom, filling a water bottle, or grabbing a snack.

Quick exercises reduce eye strain

  • Blink often and allow yourself to take frequent pauses of rest
  • Close your eyes for a minute, refocusing away from the monitor at something in the distance, or rolling your eyes all around

Quick body exercises to keep fatigue at bay

(see CSUCI Exercise-Stretching Program for full list)

  • Clench the hands into a fist as hard as you can, and then release stretching your fingers as far as you can. Repeat 3 times.
  • Put your arms straight in front of you, bend your wrists as far down as they will go and hold for 3 seconds. Extend the wrists up as far as they will go, hold for 3 seconds. Repeat these 5 times.
  • Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Bend back gently at the waist. Repeat 5 times.

Creating a space and proper set up for work or study routine allows for both the mind and body to work at maximum ability. Proper ergonomics in a home office provides support for the body while allowing you to be productive and focused on the tasks at hand.

Ergonomics in other work areas - online training:

Questions? Need to make a virtual appointment? Please contact the Environment, Health and Safety Office by email.

Joyce Spencer

Health and Safety Manager

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