With increases in technology making it easier than ever to work from home and “telecommute”, more and more employees and companies are taking advantage of the practice. There are many benefits of being able to work from home, such as increased flexibility and saving time spent commuting.
But for those who work from home, your workspace needs to be designed so that it maximizes not only your productivity, but also your health. When assessing your home workspace, two of the most important points are the furniture items you’ll use daily: a desk and a chair. Whether it’s a standing desk, stool at an elevated workstation, or a classic desk and office chair, there are many options to choose from.
Science has shown that sitting all day long can be just as bad for your health as smoking. It contributes to increased blood pressure, obesity and spinal issues as well. But don’t just think, “Well, I’ll just get a standing desk and stand all day. That will prevent all that!” Standing for long periods of time can put pressure on the joints and cause other health problems as well.
Adjustable height desks are the best of both worlds. At the push of a button, they can move up to allow you to stand, and then move back down so that you can sit. Or, instead of having an entire desk that moves up and down, you can get a monitor riser that will just lift your computer monitor up.
If you go the traditional desk route, make sure to choose a desk that suits your needs. If you’re doing mostly computer work, be sure the desk offers space or a compartment to hold the CPU underneath and built in wiring holes. If you need lots of space, consider an L-shaped desk.
As for chairs, you want something that is ergonomic, since you’ll presumably be spending lots of time sitting in it. A good office chair should have plenty of lumbar support, meaning the curved chair back should support your lower spine, following the natural curve of your lower back.
The right seat will allow you to sit comfortably while also leaving an inch or two between the back of your knees and the seat. The chair’s height should be adjustable so that your feet are flat on the floor. Armrests should be adjusted so your shoulders aren’t hunched, and your arms are parallel to the floor. Finally, your chair should be able to recline a bit. Research has show that reclining in your chair at about 135 degrees may be better for your spine than sitting straight up.
Keep these tips in mind when shopping for new home office furniture, and be cognizant that you need to focus on your health as much as you do your productivity.