Create an ergonomic 'Working From Home' setup with the right gear

By Daniel Angelini

Let me start this topic by outlining two points:

1) Your WFH gear is your ‘toolbox’ for being able to get things done efficiently

2) Let’s appreciate that ergonomics is more than just an office chair

Why are these two points important?
Well, without the right gear, it’s difficult to get a job done well. Think of a mechanic or electrician with 3 tools in their kit - it’s not sufficient enough. So let’s consider your space, your keyboard, mouse, notepads, monitor, cables, laptop and any other devices you have. These are all part of your toolbox, so let’s get the right gear. And then let’s set them up in a way that is ergonomically right so that you’re safe of nasty things like RSI, neck, shoulder or lower back pain. So let’s go through them.

Monitor stand - It is absolutely essential that if you’re working on a laptop, you raise your laptop with a stand. This one fix will help you to avoid the majority of postural problems that creep in after hours of hunching over the kitchen table. For portability, take a look at the Nexstand, which is available through Amazon and eBay for around $30. It’s height-adjustable and folds away so you can easily bring it with you.

Keyboard & mouse - It’s essential to use an external keyboard so that you can elevate your laptop screen. Check out the excellent Logitech MX range, I love the MX Anywhere 2S Mouse. For Mac users, The Apple Magic Keyboard is also great.

Mouse pad - Try an ergonomic mouse pad (mouse pad with wrist support). They are amazingly good and often available for $10 or less.

Desk space - make sure you have at least 1 meter wide of space. This allows you the freedom to have something on either side of your workspace (e.g. notepad and phone on the left, keyboard in the centre, mouse and pad on the right).

Desk chair - most of us are probably not lashing out on a $2000 Herman Miller office chairs during a pandemic, so here is a little workaround. Sit up in your desired work chair, place both feet squarely on the ground, clench both of your fists and put them on the inside of your knees, so they’re all touching in a straight line. Now squeeze your knees inwards to activate your core and sit up straight. Roll your lower back in slightly, so that you’re sitting up taller. Squeeze again for 10 seconds to activate your core. Now release and raise your arms up to your desk. Try to maintain your posture in this setting and use this exercise to reset your posture, avoiding slouching, leaning into your screen or slumping back into your chair.

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