Why Good Ergonomics Can Sometimes Work Against You In A Home Office

Do you remember the last time you were caught up in a bad traffic jam? Just crawling along with your body stuck in the same position for an hour or more. Chances are the experience left you feeling stiff and tense.

Sometimes it can feel like this in your home office too.

Tight office space restricts movement
Many home offices are situated in a spare bedroom and usually this is the smallest room in the house. As a result space is often limited with your desk taking up a good chunk of the floor space. So you end up with pretty much everything being near to hand.

But isn't that a good thing? Well yes and no.

Good ergonomics suggests having key equipment close to hand
In a normal office it’s usually recommended you set your workstation up in such a way that the most commonly used equipment falls within a 12 inch radius from your chair. Beyond this you would have less frequently used items located a little further away.

Obviously this makes good sense to cut down on twisting and stretching at odd angles to reach things.

However, due to the restricted size of the typical home office space many of the compensating activities that keep you on the move don't happen.

There’s no photocopier or central print area to walk to. No meetings to get up out of you seat to attend and no rest room or canteen to visit.

All this lack of movement can leave your body inactive for long periods and that usually results in tired and aching muscles before too long.

How can we tackle this problem?

Modifying the way you work to increase movement
It is still a good idea to have frequently used items handy to avoid making the awkward twists and turns that can happen even in a confined office space.

This means we need to get healthy movement in other ways to replace all those lost trips to the copier and meeting rooms.

Begin by getting out of your chair at least every 20-30 minutes, even if it’s only to take a few steps around your work area. Increasing this by taking a break to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea is another way of keeping more active. And if the weather is good step outside and get some fresh air.

Adding in some simple exercise routines and stretches is a great way to add back some activity into tired muscles. Even lying on your back with knees bent pointing upwards for 6 to 8 minutes will give your back and shoulders a break from carrying your body weight continuously.

So, to prevent your body from feeling like it’s been caught up in a traffic jam, make a conscious effort to keep moving throughout your working day. Doing so will ensure the limitations of a home office don't leave you with muscle and posture problems.

What’s your experience of working in a home office and what ways have you found for relieving aches and pains?

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One Response to “Why Good Ergonomics Can Sometimes Work Against You In A Home Office”

  1. I agree with your point that whether it is office or home office we should not sit continuously in one position for a longer period of time as that will cause severe aches in body.
    After suffering for some days now i set one reminder that will remind me to drink water or simply get up from chair after every 30 minutes,then i will take one small walk to kitchen to drink water. In the beginning days that reminder irritated me but now i feel happy to get up and drink water which keeps my body healthy and also away from body aches 🙂

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