5 steps to set up your home office correctly to prevent back pain and bad posture

An ergonomic chair and desk could be a worthwhile investment for your home office. Credit: Century O

An ergonomic chair and desk could be a worthwhile investment for your home office. Credit: Century Office - Credit: Archant

Since lockdown, many of us are working from home. If you’ve had to swap your office desk and chair for your kitchen table or sofa, your impromptu home office set up could be affecting your body more than you realise, resulting in back pain and bad posture.

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Steve Bays, managing director and product designer at Century Office in Essex shares his tips for setting up a safe home office to make working from home less of a pain in the neck.

1. Invest in the right chair and adjust the height of your seat correctly

Steve recommends buying an ‘operator style’ ergonomic chair with three points of adjustment; height, back angle and lumbar support.

Set your chair to the right height by checking your eyes are level with the top of your screen and that your forearms can rest easily on the top of your desk.

Download the free guide on how to maintain correct posture from Century Office. Credit: Century Offi

Download the free guide on how to maintain correct posture from Century Office. Credit: Century Office - Credit: Archant

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Steve adds: “Your chair and desk need to be compatible. Your desk should be at least 600mm deep if you have a laptop or at least 800mm deep if you have a monitor or desktop computer.”

2. Angle the backrest to fit the natural curve of your spine

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“You should adjust the back of your chair to fit with the natural curve of your spine,” Steve said.

“Relax your body, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, lift your head and push your shoulders back. Now, see the curve that forms in your lower back - this is your lumbar. The back of your seat should rest against here.”

Some chairs come with a pump up lumbar. Use this to change the pressure and shape of the backrest to give you more support and prevent you from hunching over.

3. Rest both feet flat on the ground

When you’re sat at your desk, both feet should be flat against the floor. Your legs need to be at a 90-degree angle and there should be a small gap between the back of your knees and the edge of your seat.

This way your weight is evenly distributed and will ease the strain on your lower back. Don’t cross your legs or tuck them under your chair as this can cut off the blood flow to your feet.

If you find after adjusting your seat, your feet no longer touch the ground, invest in a footrest to make sure they can still rest against a solid surface.

4. Change your position throughout the day

Don’t spend too long in any one position. Rotate between sitting and standing to prevent your muscles from getting achy.

“Best practice is to alternate between different sitting and standing positions throughout the day. It’s recommended you switch over every 30 – 60 minutes,” Steve said.

Standing will help elongate your spine and is good for your overall posture.

5. Place your monitor, keyboard and mouse within easy reach

Once your seat is the best position and in line with your desk, complete your home office setup by placing your mouse, keyboard and monitor.

Your keyboard should sit directly in front of you and your mouse should be close by – you shouldn’t need to reach for them. Your monitor should be an arm’s length away. Remember to take regular screen breaks to allow your eyes to focus and prevent headaches.

“Try abiding by the 20-20 rule. Look away from your screen once every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds,” Steve said.

Where you can try to reduce the amount of time spent at your screen and turn off your computer an hour before bed. Its blue light can interfere with your sleep pattern and make it harder to fall asleep.

Give yourself the best set up to work effectively from home

Many of us will continue to work from home, while offices remain closed. Give yourself the best home office set up to maintain efficiency and work comfortably in your home office. Download a free guide on how to maintain correct posture.

Visit century-office.co.uk to explore the range of ergonomic chairs and desks.

For more information call 0800 092 9301 or email sales@century-office.co.uk.

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