How to Set Up Your Home Workstation
Your safety when working at home is just as important as when working in your usual workplace. Working from home may change, increase or create work health or safety risks. A common physical risk from poor work environments is workstation set up. Follow the below steps to ensure your workstation is suitable and safe for you.
It is important to try new positions and find the most comfortable arrangement for yourself. Consideration also must be given to the tasks you will be performing and the equipment that is being used.
Follow the chair’s instructions to adjust your chair into a comfortable position. Your back should be slightly reclined with a backrest supporting your lower back. Make sure you are taking a break from sitting for long periods of time (every 20-30 minutes is helpful).
Shoulders should be relaxed, and arms are in a comfortable position when using the keyboard (usually this is elbows at approximately 90-100 degrees, with fingers relaxed on the keyboard). Your feet should be supported on a surface with hips and knees at approximately 90-100 degrees. If your feet do not reach the ground, a footrest should be used.
Adjust the backrest on your chair so that it supports the curve of your lower back. Keep making adjustments and new positions until you find the most comfortable fit. A slight backward tilt is a preferred position as the force on the lower back is reduced.
Armrests are usually not recommended when working on a computer as they may hinder the user from getting close to their workstation. If your chair does have armrests make sure they do not prevent you from getting as close to the desk as you require. You may also be able to remove them by unscrewing them or replacing them with a smaller or adjustable option.
Size of the chair
There should be a two-finger clearance between the front of the chair and the back of the knee.
If you don’t have a height-adjustable desk
Your desk surface should be just below elbow height. If your chair has been adjusted and the desk is higher or lower than the elbow, other adjustments will be required. Measure the height difference between the desk and your elbow.
If the desk is too high
Raise the chair by the measured difference and use a footrest. Set the footrest platform so that it is the same as the measured difference.
If the desk is too low
Raise the height of the desk by extending the leg length or sitting it on wooden blocks or similar. Remember to ensure that any such changes are secure and stable.
Clearance under the desk
General items, like computer hard disk drives, boxes of documents or files, rubbish bins and mobile drawers should not be stored under desks where they will decrease or interfere with the space required for the legs.
Tilt the keyboard using the feet at the back to suit your level of comfort. Place the keyboard as close to the front edge of the desk as comfortable. The mouse mat should be positioned directly beside the end of the keyboard on your preferred side. Where possible, try and avoid holding on to the mouse when not in use.
To be positioned once the chair and desk heights have been established.
The top of the screen should be level with, or slightly lower than your eyes when you are sitting upright (you may need to use books to raise the screen if the screen is not adjustable). Place the screen so that it is comfortable to view your screen from your seated position (this is usually approximately an arm’s length away from your usual seated position).
Other items on the desk
Other items such as a telephone should be placed either within easy reach depending on the amount of use. When making a lot of calls, it may be best to use a headset.