Ergonomics tips for setting up a home office.

A home office should meet the same health and safety requirements as those available at work where possible. For example:

  • Your desk, chair, and other accessories are of a comparable (equal) quality to that in the office. For example, the desk should be of appropriate height and sturdy enough to handle the weight of any peripheral equipment that you may place on it (e.g., computers, printers, scanners, etc.).
  • Your employer may provide or allow you to borrow equipment such as an ergonomic chair, footrest, or technology that will help to set up a safer work environment. Alternatively, household objects can be used creatively to improve the ergonomics of a temporary workstation.
  • Your chair or workstation is adjusted properly: the keyboard is at the right height (wrists are in a neutral position), and the mouse is placed nearby (reachable without arm or wrist strain). Note that, generally speaking, the kitchen table is not an ideal work surface as the table is too high and doesn’t allow for proper positioning of the wrists in relation to the keyboard and mouse.
  • The workspace is tidy and organized to reduce reaching and twisting motions, and has been cleared of potential slip-trip-fall hazards.
  • Lighting is properly arranged: there should not be reflections or glare on the computer monitor, and light levels do not cause eye strain.
  • Noise levels can be controlled, either by isolating the work area or using noise-canceling headphones or hearing protection.
  • The ventilation and air quality in the workspace are adequate.
  • The temperature is comfortable and can be adjusted as needed.

What is an appropriate home office environment?

Appropriate work space at home may include:

  • a space or room where it is easy to concentrate – preferably separate from other living areas and away from distractions
  • level of security as required by the workplace
  • telephone lines or cellular service (separate from the family line if required) and answering machine or voice mail, if necessary
  • cable, satellite, or other receivers for Internet connections, as necessary
  • control over temperature, light, and sound
  • household members who will understand you are working and will not disturb you unnecessarily

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