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Steps You Can Take to Set Up an Ergonomic Home Office to Take Care of the Most Important Business Tool - You!

A Kensington® SmartFit® Laptop Riser with Qi Wireless Phone Charging Pad

No matter the size of a business or its revenue, its greatest asset and most valuable resource is the people. This is equally true of a one-person home business that is just getting started and a large multinational corporation with a workforce distributed around the globe. Without people, there is no business. That is why promoting the health and wellness of every employee is an important ingredient in productivity and job satisfaction.

Some well-established practices like on-site flu vaccinations and steel-toed work boots are so commonplace that few people would question the importance and value of investing time and financial resources in them. But too often, the same attention is not given to concerns about the vital role that ergonomics plays in fostering wellness in the workplace.

Employees spend money and time taking care of their health outside of work.  But health and fitness shouldn’t stop at the gym. How we take care of ourselves is a 24/7 consideration - and that includes the office.

An ergonomic workplace can improve health, reduce fatigue, and helps you to perform at peak levels. A Bureau of Labor Statistics study in 1990 found that $1 of every $3 spent for worker’s compensation were from issues such as musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) like carpal tunnel syndrome and low back pain, and that of the 2 million workers who experience MSDs every year, 600,000 of them miss work as a result.

One clear advantage of a home office is the ability to customize the workspace to tailor it to the person who will be using it.  This blog will guide you through the factors to consider when designing an ergonomically friendly home office and provide information about the tools and product solutions  Kensington offers to promote the health and wellness of our customers.

An Ergonomic Desk Setup is the Foundation of Wellness at Work

The first factor to consider in your home office setup is what kind, and how many computers you need to get your job done. Up until recently, if you used a desktop computer there was only one configuration available—sitting at a desk all day and trying to modify your workspace to be as comfortable as possible.

With the growing evidence of the benefits of changing positions frequently and avoiding too much sitting, it is important to consider whether a stand-up desk, or a sit-and-stand solution may be a better option. If you are setting up a dedicated room as an office, the Kensington SmartFit Sit/Stand Desk provides a complete solution with ultimate flexibility. It provides a convenient desk-on-desk design with a large flat surface where you can view multiple documents or other items side-by-side while seated or standing.  It transitions from a seated to a standing workstation to make it easy for you to change your position during the day, and to make sure you are working in the most comfortable position for the particular task you are performing.

Dual monitors and a laptop on a Kensington SmartFit Sit/Stand Workstation

If you want to maximize the flexibility of a smaller area, for example if you have a workspace integrated into your kitchen cabinet design, you can add a SmartFit Sit/Stand Workstation to your existing desk to leverage the benefits of a standing desk without incurring the expense and inconvenience of a home remodel. While the surface of your desk remains the same, you have complete control over the height of your keyboard and monitor and can adjust them quickly and easily throughout the day.

Take Advantage of a Laptop Stand

If you work primarily, or even occasionally, on a laptop, at some time you have probably found yourself hunched over to see the screen better, or balancing it precariously on your lap while you tried to type. Although you can work like that, you shouldn’t--and you don’t have to. Kensington offers a full range of laptop risers so that you can move your screen to be at comfortable eye level and your keyboard at your hand level, rather than contorting your body to match the design specifications of your device. This helps you to focus on your task so you can get more done in less time.

Strength and Wellness For Your Back

If you are using a standing desk all--or part--of the time, you need to make sure that you are making the most of its advantages. To help with this, Kensington offers an Anti-fatigue Mat to maximize the health benefits of standing while working.

Woman standing on an anti-fatigue mat and working at a dual monitor setup with a monitor arm

Whenever you are seated while you work, it is important to position your spine to avoid leaning to increase your comfort and well-being. With a Kensington Seat Pad and Back Rest, you can custom tailor your chair so that your back is fully supported so that you can work with a relaxed neutral posture. By adding an adjustable Kensington Footrest, you can align your lower body to relieve pressure on your lower back. If your home office is in a public area of the house where a traditional office chair would not match the décor or there is no space for one, these solutions let you turn almost any chair into an ergonomic sitting solution that is both attractive and comfortable.

Monitor Stands Are Part Of An Ergonomic Desk Setup

Once your computer is in a good location, you should next consider your display. Having it at the correct height and distance from your eyes will promote the health of your eyes, neck, and shoulders. If you rely on your laptop screen instead of an external display, it is vital that you elevate it to eye level. If you use a single monitor, Kensington offers a variety of monitor stands to securely hold all sizes of displays. If your work involves large images, comparing multiple complex documents, or adjusting very small details, a dual-monitor configuration may be your best solution.

If so, a Kensington Dual Monitor Mount or Stand will allow you to position both monitors correctly in relation to each other, and to your eyes.

Take care of your wrists and hands

To find the correct position for your keyboard, bend your elbows to a right angle and keep your wrists flat. You should not have to flex your wrists or bend your elbows to type. If your keyboard is not at the right height, select a Kensington keyboard platform or keyboard drawer that puts it in the correct position.

You should be able to type with your fingers at a comfortable distance from each other—neither cramped together or splayed too far apart. This can be particularly challenging when using a laptop keyboard that was designed to be small and lightweight and used for short periods of time. Kensington offers multiple keyboards that can replace the standard keyboard that came with your desktop computer, or be used as an external keyboard for better comfort when working with a portable device.

To ensure that you keep your wrist at a neutral angle to avoid repetitive-stress, add a Kensington Wrist Rest to your desktop configuration. Kensington offers them in a variety of styles and designs so you can select the one that fits best with your keyboard and your preferred level of comfort.

Person using a keyboard with a Kensington ErgoSoft™ Wrist Rest

Mice & Trackballs, Mousepads, and Wrist Rests

The final factor to consider in designing the ergonomics of your home office is your mouse. The mouse should fit comfortably in your hand and allow relaxed movement across your desk surface. As we have with keyboards, Kensington has engineered a range of ergonomic trackballs and mice to replace the standard one provided with your computer, or to be a more comfortable option when working with a laptop device. By adding a Kensington Mouse Pad and Wrist Rest, you can make sure that your device is easy to use for long periods of time.

Now that we have discussed how to take care of your health and wellness by paying attention to the ergonomics of your home office, in our next blog entry we will delve into ways to enhance the aesthetics of your home office environment.

You can find a summary of the top tech tools for the home office professional here.

View Kensington's Line of Ergonomic Home Office Products