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Tips & Techniques to Get You Back to Full Strength

Setting Up a Home Office Space

Dana Tress 
August 1, 2021
Setting Up a Home Office Space

Since 2020, the work environment looks much different for many people who have transitioned to working from home.  Many businesses have completely shifted away from having a majority of employees in an office setting permanently.  Now, more than ever, the setup and design of a work-from-home office is important.  Being mindful of ergonomics, a proper workstation setup at home will help decrease the rate of eye fatigue, TMJ pain, neck pain, back pain, headaches and other complications such as carpal tunnel syndrome.  

What are ergonomics?  Ergonomics is the ability to modify any workstation to increase efficiency while decreasing strain and stress to the body.  The concept of ergonomics is based on maintaining proper posture throughout the day.  Fortunately, there are many different products out there and some DIY options that can make your home office perfect for you.  If you are someone that will be continuing to work out of the house, it’s time to get off of the couch or the floor with your laptop and create a space well suited for your job.  The following are some things to consider when creating your home office and upgrading from the dining table and folding chair!

  • The desk could be stationary, have a sit-to-stand converter on top of it, or be fully adjustable to sit-to-stand based on your preference
  • The chair you pick should be fully customizable to you with adjustable seat depth, height and armrests
  • When typing, your elbows should be able to rest on the armrests of the chair.  If this is not possible, raise the height of the chair OR use an adjustable keyboard tray
  • Your knees should sit slightly lower than your hips and rest on the floor; if you have shorter legs, use of a footrest is recommended
  • Keep the things you use the most frequently closest to you on the desk
  • If you spend a lot of time on the phone, use of speakerphone or a headset is needed
  • Rolling up a towel about as thick as your fist makes a great DIY substitute for a lumbar roll
  • The computer monitor should be directly in front of you, arms length away, with the top of the monitor at eye height
  • No matter how you set up your home office, a 30 second stretch break every 15-20 minutes is necessary to break up the monotony of the seated posture we assume throughout the day

Looking for products and ways to modify your home workstation can be overwhelming, but a proper design is so important to reducing injuries related to improper posture throughout the day.  We offer ergonomic assessments for your in-home office as well, so feel free to contact us at Smith Physical Therapy with any of your ergonomic questions!

Meet the Author
Dana Tress, PT, CEAS, AIB-CON is a physical therapist specializing in the management of concussion, balance dysfunction, headaches and dizziness in Crystal Lake, Illinois at Smith Physical Therapy Balance + Concussion Center, an award winner in concierge physical therapy services for McHenry County and surrounding regions.