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If you read that title and wondered “What the hell is ergonomics,” you, my friend are not alone. I wondered that the first time I saw the word, too. According to dictionary.com, ergonomics is defined as:
a science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people can use them easily and safely.
Nowadays, most people associate ergonomics with the workplace. My job has a whole department devoted to making sure your workspace works for you. And since I’ve been there, I’ve definitely taken advantage of the tips I’ve learned there, which is why I’m sharing 5 hacks to make your workspace more ergonomically friendly.
So I want you to sit at your desk, whether it’s a home desk or one at work and think about how productive you feel sitting there. Do you feel comfortable enough to keep working for a few hours? Or are you in pain? It can be something as simple as back pain (my personal favorite). While you probably don’t have an ergonomics department to talk to, there are some easy hacks you can do to make your space work better for you.
1. Make a Standing Desk
I have a standing desk at work, and y’all, it is my favorite thing ever. The ones at my job are motorized, so I can sit and stand as I please during the day and it feels so nice. But at home, it’s a bit different. My desk at home happens to be a 100-year-old (or close to it) dining room table that doesn’t move. So I had to come up with something else to make it work.
Enter $7 crate from Target. I’ve had this thing for a while and it’s great for moving stuff, but the other night I emptied it out and put it on my desk. Moving my keyboard and mouse, I used the crate to add elevation to my keyboard and mouse up. It works for me because I’m less likely to rest my wrists on the crate than I am the desk. And this crate is just the right height where it forces me to stand straight to get a good angle at my keyboard.
2. Raise Your Eyes
If you have a laptop, I have some bad news for you – it’s not very ergonomically friendly. Laptops are great for portability, but when you’re at a desk all day, you really need a monitor for your eyes and neck. Ideally, your monitor should be eye level with you when you sit down. Laptops force you to lean over and look down. For your home office, you can get monitors for less than $150 (I have this one). I have one that I hook up to my MacBook Pro and it makes a difference.Is your workspace helping you stay productive? Click To Tweet
3. Raise Your Eyes (2.0)
If you can’t do a full-sized monitor, you can also get laptop stands (this one is my favorite) that help elevate your laptop – the only downside is that you’ll need an external keyboard or mouse for this. No one said that being healthy was cheap!
4. Adjust Your Chair
If you have an adjustable chair, it can be super fun to adjust your chair all day long. But there’s actually a specific height that you need to have it at. When I had the ergonomics department come in at work, they told me your chair needs to be low enough for your feet to rest comfortably on the floor. But that’s not it. Your feet should be on the floor, but you also need to be able to type on your keyboard. Your arms should be at a ninety-degree angle from your keyboard to work.
So, what if you’re like me at home and your table is too high to meet all those requirements?
Well, you need a footrest so you can adjust your height. You don’t need anything fancy at home. Remember these are hacks, you should be able to use what you have around you. I used a plastic shoebox from The Container Store (Y’all, I have like forty of these boxes – I use them literally for everything) and it was the perfect height to give me the arm support I needed plus keep my feet from dangling.
5. Where is your keyboard?
I know I’m guilty of resting my wrists on the desk because I push my keyboard so far back, but that’s actually bad for you. You need to try and keep your keyboard as close to the edge of the table as possible so you can keep your wrists elevated. Same with your mouse. I know when I need to write something down on a piece of paper, I push my keyboard way up to the back of my desk. When I need it again, I don’t always pull my keyboard back down, which is a bad habit I need to quit.
But, don’t use the wrist rest
I’m sure you’ve seen those wrist rests (say that five times fast) online. Or even if your office. They allow you to rest your wrists while still having elevation to use your keyboard. After purchasing one for my desk at home, I found out you aren’t supposed to use those. We’re still supposed to hold our arms out and up. The wrists rests were developed for people with carpal tunnel syndrome. Everyone is guilty of resting our wrists on the table sometimes, but people who have carpal tunnel can experience some super awful pain if they hit that hard table bare. The wrist rests are designed to absorb the impact and be less painful for those who need it. Not for all of us who are probably being lazy (myself included).
For a space you spend so much time in, it’s important to have a workspace that works for you. Simple hacks or tweaks like this can help make a huge difference in your comfort and overall productivity. Have you made any adjustments to your workspace to help your day?