Good Home Office Setup

How To Set Up a Good Home Office

As many of us are now working from home it is more important than ever to ensure our work station is set-up for optimal working conditions to avoid things like neck and back pain.

Your home office should ideally be a separate space in your home that is suitable for the work being done. In an ideal world a room that can hold a desk and computer, better still if it has a door that can be closed to separate your work from home life.

Most of us will use a spare room as a dual-purpose space: an office come guest room. Some of us may utilise a conservatory, an out-building or even the garden shed.
If you are not fortunate to have such a space then you need to identify the best place for your office as you may have less control over the work area and possible interruptions from the family, the TV or even pets.

Things To Consider Are:

Proper work height for your desk

Your space needs a desk or table that is at a good work height for you.

You know your desk is at the correct height if, when you sit up straight, your forearms are parallel to the floor and your wrist is not bent when you type.

Proper monitor height

You know your monitor is at the correct height when 1/3 of it is in-line with your forehead. With monitors, the bigger the better, any major brand will offer high-quality monitors. Avoid the cheapest monitors if you can, due to their lower resolution and fuzziness as this may lead to eye strain.

What are the health risks associated with DSE (Display Screen Equipment)?

Types of DSE examples include:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • TV screens
  • CCTV screens
  • Equipment display screens attached to machinery etc
Using DSE can affect us in many ways such as: eye strain, neck and shoulder problems and backache from overuse or working from a badly setup work station.
The main risks that may arise in work with DSE are musculo-skeletal problems such as back pain and repetitive strain injuries, mental stress and visual fatigue.
If you use DSE daily as part of your normal work or routine for more than one hour then you should ideally conduct a DSE Risk Assessment.
You should look at: the whole workstation, including equipment, furniture, and work conditions and the job/task being done.

Do You Work From a Laptop at Home?

If so, you should check out if the screen height is correct, if you usually use the integrated keyboard then the answer is probably – No.
This could easily be resolved by using a separate keyboard and a riser for the screen.

Is your desk/table height right for you, does your seat put you in a safe working position? All this should be investigated to help minimise any risks from DSE working. A link to the HSE website can be found below where you can print off a DSE risk assessment form. This is a quick-fire guide to optimise your home or office work station.

How Can You Help Yourself?

Take Regular Breaks – Depending on the type of work being carried out you should look to take short breaks often, rather than longer ones less often. For example, 5 to 10 minutes every hour is better than 20 minutes every 2 hours.
Perform Short Exercise Routines – Such as mobility exercises for the neck, back and shoulders and stretches for tight muscles such as the chest. Check out our video’s in the knowledge centre
Get Up and Take a Walk – Getting up from your desk and stretching out your legs is so important. Get up every 30 minutes to reduce the risks to your health. Research has warned time and time again that “sitting disease” is real. But if you’re sitting all day at work, you should get up every 30 minutes and move to reduce your risks.
Avoid where possible swapping one device for another during your breaks e.g. mobile phone, TV etc – DSE work can be visually demanding and long spells can lead to tired eyes, discomfort and headaches so taking time away completely will be less strain on your eyes.