Ergonomics 101

When searching for furniture for your home office, ergonomics should be the top deciding factor — especially since you’re likely spending more time working from home than ever before. And let’s be real: You may never have even considered the ergonomics of office furniture! We’ve talked to many people who are working from home for the first time who had previously relied on their employers to provide ergonomically designed furniture for their in-office setups. But now, it’s up to you to do research and choose your own office furniture. 

We know the process can be daunting, especially when sifting through seemingly endless options for pieces you’ll be using more than almost any other furniture in your home. That’s where we come in… We’ve done all the work for you! Read on to learn more about office ergonomics and some suggestions for your evolving home office.

What Is Ergonomics?
Merriam-Webster defines ergonomics as “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” So what does this mean in a workspace setting? Office ergonomics is basically the science behind a healthy, productive, and efficient setup for the worker. Prioritizing health and safety in an office is vital in order to avoid problems such as fatigue, neck problems, back problems, and more. These issues can be prevented when following these office health tips:

1. Alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
The Harvard Medical School’s newsletter, Healthbeat, had this to say about the dangers of sitting for extended periods of time: “A growing body of evidence suggests that spending too many hours sitting is hazardous to your health. Habitual inactivity raises risks for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome.” The easiest way to combat these risks is to invest in a height-adjustable desk or a desk converter if you already have a standard desk.

The Balance Height Adjustable Desk by The Smarter Office is our top choice for an easy-to-operate, height-adjustable desk. At the flip of a switch, this electric desk glides from 22.5″ to 48.7″. Though the height is the most important feature, this desk is also scratch- and stain-resistant, available in two different finishes, and also comes with a 10-year warranty. This desk is here to stay.

balance height adjustable desk

If you don’t need a new desk or are looking for a cheaper route, we recommend the Passage Desk Converter, also by The Smarter Office. This desk converter allows you to easily go from sitting to standing in one fluid motion. We love how easy this product is to use (and how easy it is on our wallet).

passage desk converter

2. Support your back by choosing the right chair.
The chair you choose can either make or break your back (okay, figuratively speaking anyway!). Keeping your back comfortable and moving throughout the day is so important for the health of your spine.

The Leap Chair by Steelcase is the perfect choice to support your back, encourage movement, and provide comfortability. Plus, this chair is pleasing to the eye and will freshen up your space (it comes in four models, nine colors, four finish options — and each version can be customized even further with armrests, headrests, and more).

leap chair steelcase

3. Protect those wrists.
It’s not something we typically think about, but using a traditional keyboard on a desk can be damaging to your wrists. A keyboard tray can help prevent harm to your wrists. Our recommendation? The Humanscale Keyboard Tray. Designed with ergonomic comfort in mind, this keyboard tray is designed to take the pressure off your wrists. It’s height-adjustable and brings the keyboard to you to help improve back pain, wrist pain, and posture.

4. …And don’t forget to take breaks.

Although it’s not exactly office ergonomics, we wanted to leave a quick reminder about how important it is to move throughout the day. While working at home, you’re less likely to walk with teammates to grab coffee or lunch, head to another area for a meeting, etc. If you’re anything like us, you may have found yourself looking at the clock only to realize you’ve been glued to the same spot for hours on end. Leave breathing room in your calendar after big chunks of focused time, or even schedule time for a short walk outside, a quick stretching or yoga break, etc. These efforts not only work to improve your physical health but can help you refocus and stay engaged throughout the workday. 

If you have any questions for us about office ergonomics or designing a comfortable, yet modern home office, please contact our design team. They’ll be happy to help you!

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