4 Home Office Changes That Can Reduce Health Concerns
If you spend several hours each day working from a home office, sitting and using the computer for long periods of time can have consequences. One advantage of working from home is that you can modify your surroundings. There are several ways you can minimize the risk of common ailments that primarily occur in people who have desk jobs.
Sitting for many hours each day can contribute to weight gain and poor circulation in your legs. Ideally you should stand up and move around for a few minutes every hour. Not only does a small amount of exercise have health benefits, but moving around can help break up the monotony or temporarily alleviate fatigue after working for several hours. If moving around is not enough, consider purchasing a standing desk for your office.
There are several types of standing desks available. If you can afford to replace your desk completely, look for affordable standing desks that allow you to quickly adjust the height. This way, your standing desk can easily turn into traditional desk when you are ready to sit down. For a smaller budget, consider purchasing a standing desk that can attach to your current desk. This attachment allows you to elevate your work area temporarily.
Upgrade Your Monitor
Although the size of your monitor is a personal preference, monitors that are 19 inches or larger are often more comfortable for desk work. A larger monitor can reduce eye strain that is common if you frequently work on the computer. Although it may not be apparent that the monitor is affecting your eyes, you may notice subtle or seemingly unrelated concerns, such as your eyes burning, squinting more or having an increase in headaches.
Purchasing a larger monitor will allow you to increase the size of text or images to a comfortable size. Another benefit of a larger monitor is that you are more likely to sit appropriately, without leaning forward and hunching over, which can cause back and neck problems. If you primarily use a laptop in your office, add a large external monitor to your work area.
Buy An Ergonomic Chair
The chair you choose should be an investment, and it is worth the extra effort to try out a chair at a physical store before making a purchase. Ergonomically designed chairs are not necessarily about cushions and extra padding, but they are designed to adequately support your back and neck when you are seated properly.
You need to try out a chair to determine if the chair is appropriate for your height, especially if quite tall or short. Your feet are supposed to rest flat on the floor if you are sitting properly. If you are short and it is difficult to find the right combination of an ergonomic chair that allows you to rest your feet on the floor, while having your desk at the appropriate height, consider using a step stool or other object for resting your feet.
If you type frequently, the repetitive action can eventually cause problems in your hands and wrists. The most common disorder that is associated with typing and other repetitive activities is carpal tunnel, which causes numbness in the fingers. It is also possible to develop osteoarthritis over time from frequent typing. Although there are many keyboards and accessories, such as gel pads, that can make typing more comfortable, you can do more to protect your hands and wrists by using assistive technology to minimize typing.
There are many speech-to-text programs that can be used for dictation. In some cases, your computer may have a speech-to-text program already installed. All you need is a microphone and patience to help train the program to recognize your voice and increase accuracy. Although you may not use a speech-to-text program everyday, giving your hands and wrists a break can help reduce temporary discomfort or long-term damage.
There are several easy changes that can make your home office more comfortable and less damaging. Many of the physical problems that are commonly associated with desk work can be avoided by changing your furniture and using assistive technology.