5 Ways to Make Your Home Office a Healthier Place to Work

by Guest Contributor

This post was submitted to us by Kimberly Crossland.

I have to admit, working from home has its advantages. I am close to my family, able to avoid wearing heels for eight hours a day around the office, and I can be flexible about where and how I work. While home offices are a luxury that many people wish they could have, the risk of distraction, keeping work too close, and a general lack of coworkers to keep me motivated is very real. If you are like me, to stay productive in my home office, I have to feel like I am at work. This requires me to have a setup that inspires productivity.

In my job where I sat behind a desk from nine to five every Monday through Friday, I quickly found that not all office furniture and equipment is made equal. When I first started, I had a traditional desk with an uncomfortable chair to sit in all day. Soon, I found myself getting more and more tired as the day progressed. I would go home with a sore back and hips from sitting for so long in the same position, and the frequency of my headaches increased from all that staring at the monitor. To help, my boss invested in ergonomic furniture for me and our team. The results were incredible. I had more energy, my headaches were far less frequent and I was able to focus better on my work.

Now that I work out of a home office, I decided it was essential to my health that I create the same setup. Here are a few ways how to make your work area healthier and more efficient for you.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Office a Healthier Place to Work

1.      I stopped eye strain – Staring at a computer screen for hours at a time is bad for your eyes. This is particularly true when the lighting around you is poor causing you to strain your eyes to see what you are doing. To help, I bought a task light which sits on my desk and gives just the right amount of light so that I do not have to strain my eyes as much.

2.      I reduced my chances of a repetitive stress injury – Each day I type thousands of words in my job. The chance of getting carpal tunnel syndrome in my position is quite high. To help prevent this potentially job ending injury, I use an ergonomic keyboard to help avoid repetitive stress on my wrists.

3.      I gave my back and hips much needed support – When you sit in your chair, the pressure put on your back and hips increases. This is why I always left the office feeling sore even though I had not done any vigorous activity all day. I have since switched out my kitchen table chair for an ergonomic chair that gives me the support I need to sit up taller and put less strain on my back.

4.      I stand up to work – Studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time is bad for your health. Even for people who work out regularly, sitting behind a desk for eight hours can leave you at risk for heart disease, obesity and other illness. With my standup desk, I can frequently change my posture throughout the day so I am never sitting too much at work.

5.      I take a walk while typing away – It sounds strange, but perhaps my favorite part of my office is my treadmill. I recently purchased a treadmill desk that allows me to walk while I work. Surprisingly, it is not as difficult as I anticipated it might be. Now, I can keep my body moving so that I do not risk health detriment of being sedentary for too long.

The reality is that desk jobs come with inherent risk. If you work out of your home, you can improve your health just by giving your home office a mini-makeover with ergo friendly furniture or accessories.

 What do you do to help combat sitting all day? Share your tips in the comments below.

 

Kimberly Crossland is a freelance writer with a passion for health and business. Her writing can be seen on a variety of websites that focus on working from home

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jill Robson March 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I have a printed schedule that i block periods of time. For example, i work for a set amount of hours at my computer, take a break for coffee and snack, make calls while using my hand free head set. Do some more computer work, stop for a quick lunch and quick walk of the dog, then back to work until my son gets in from school. Then i play it by ear until i get supper ready. Stretching for me is important, so anytime i leave my computer i have a good stretch.

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2 Tanya March 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I just make sure I take lots of breaks and walk about a bit. I will work for awhile then do some house work, Then work for awhile and then play with the kids. It breaks up the day and I also don’t have to sit down for 8 hours straight.

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3 another jennifer March 11, 2013 at 8:16 pm

A treadmill desk?! Now that sounds cool. I recently set up a stand up work station in my home office so I can switch between sitting and standing. It actually helps my efficiency quite a bit. With the warmer weather coming, I need to get those walks back into my routine. I always need to remind myself to take breaks!

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4 Lauren March 15, 2013 at 10:06 am

I’ve been thinking of getting one of those standing desks (or even just putting my laptop on the kitchen counter and working from there) so I won’t be sitting all day.

I also make the print on my computer ridiculously large so I don’t have to strain my eyes!

Good tips — thanks for sharing!

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