Internode Blog

How to improve your home office set-up

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 by

There’s a lot to love about working from home: easy access to snacks, full control over the room temperature, a short commute. But what WFH life has giveth, it has also taketh away – most noticeably in the form of healthy, ergonomic workstations.

If you’ve experienced back, shoulder, arm or neck pain, headaches, or strained eyesight while remote working, there’s a high chance the cause lies in how you’ve set up your temporary workspace. The good news is that you don’t need to hire a live-in masseuse to solve the problem – a few small changes can do the trick.

What does ergonomics actually mean?

Ergonomics is the process of designing or arranging workplaces, products, and systems so that they fit the people who use them. It’s also a great word for Scrabble.

Six ergonomic practices to adopt while working from home

1. Invest in a good chair: Replacing what is probably a dining chair with an actual office chair is one of the quickest and most impactful ways to improve your WFH set up. When choosing your trusty steed seat, look for the following features:

  • Adjustable: You want your chair at a height that allows the top of your desk to be level with the underside of your forearms. Your shoulders should be relaxed, with your elbows bent at roughly 90 degrees
  • Size: Make sure your chair is large enough to support your whole body, ideally with a back rest that supports the natural curve of your spine
  • Body position: Try to maintain a symmetrical body position, avoiding crossed legs, or leaning over to twist your body. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, with your knees directly over your ankles. In case of emergency, a lifejacket can be found under you—whoops, wrong blog post

2. Keep your monitor at eye level: If you’re not used to working remotely, it’s likely that the only piece of equipment you have is your trusty laptop. Looking down can cause neck pain so it’s recommended you protect yourself from injury by using an external monitor or arranging to borrow one from your employer. If this option is not available to you, there are still ways to work safety – try propping your laptop up with a book or box to keep the screen eye level and connecting an external keyboard and mouse.

3. Consider your lighting: It’s not exactly groundbreaking news to say that staring at a screen irritates your eyes, but it’s always good to hear a refresher. When undertaking any prolonged screen activity, it’s recommended that you:

  • Blink often
  • Look away to something in the distance every 20 minutes or so
  • Orientate yourself so that you don’t get too much glare on your screen, particularly you use a laptop

4. Take breaks every 30 minutes to move: Sitting for a long period of time is problematic and without the distractions of office life, like walking to meetings or grabbing a coffee, there’s a risk your day will become dangerously sedentary. Combat this by periodically getting your blood flowing – whether that’s through household chores, a YouTube yoga tutorial, one-handed kite surfing, or cage diving. Some arguably less extreme methods of quitting the sit include:

  • Standing up for things that don’t require your keyboard, like watching a video or taking a phone call
  • Mixing up your computer time with other tasks that get you on your feet so you’re not sitting down for extended periods of time

5. Consider your working environment: It’s not just your equipment that impacts your health. Choose a quiet, tidy room to use as your temporary office – or at least a portion of your lounge or dining room – that is all and only business. You’ll find it easier to get into the zone in the morning and switch off at the end of the day.

6. Don’t suffer in silence: If you’re struggling to get into the WFH groove, speak up to your employer or HR department. Hopefully these tips and hacks have helped make your home workspace healthier but, if symptoms persist, touch base with a qualified health professional.

Need more internet as you WFH?

If you don’t usually work from home, you’ll probably find that you use more data than normal. Internode customers can stay on top of their data usage by checking in MyInternode. If you’re on our NBN25, NBN50, and NBN100 plans, fret not as you can change your plan to one with Unlimited data. One less thing to worry about (and more time to work on your kite surfing skills.)

Share your thoughts

How have you set up your home office? Share any handy hints you’ve discovered in the comments section below