When you calculate nearly $4 for a gallon of gas, plus $3.50 for a cup of coffee, and then factor in time lost sitting in traffic, telecommuting, also known as working from home, makes a lot of sense in today’s world.

 If you can, I say go for it. But before you prepare your work space, check out my ergonomic tips to prevent common home office maladies such as: headaches, sore necks and stiff fingers.

Included in this article:

  • Choose the Correct Chair
  • Light up Your Life
  • De-clutter Your Desk
  • Allow in the Atmosphere

My home office allows me to put in long hours and multi-task seamlessly between all of my projects. Which room you choose and how much space to allocate is up to what you have available. But I’ve learned that the one area you shouldn’t skimp on is following the basic rules of ergonomics.  This means setting up a space with furniture and equipment that best fit your body.  Putting in long hours with your feet up on a coffee table and a laptop on your knees probably isn’t going to cut it.

Picking the Perfect Chair

Just as you wouldn’t dare go to a black-tie event in beach attire, you should never work in a chair that isn’t suited for your body. Most of your time will be spent in this chair so it’s crucial to find one that’s comfortable.  I suggest you try a few of them out before making a decision.

A comfortable, ergonomic chair should have the following:
1.  Adjustable height.
2.  Good lumbar support.
3.  The ability to lower, raise and tilt backwards.

When sitting in your chair, your feet should be flat on the ground with adequate space between the back of your legs and the front of your seat.

Decluttering Your Desk

Nothing makes it harder to complete your work than a messy, cluttered desk.   Time spent looking for something can be better spent working on that important task.

In setting up your desk, make sure you allow enough space for your computer equipment, telephone and whatever office supplies you need.   If you are constantly referring to something heavy, such as a large binder, make room for it on your desk in order to avoid continually reaching for it.   Save all that up and down motion for the gym.

Your keyboard needs to be at elbow height.  If it is too high, you’ll put strain on your wrists.  If it is too low, you will find yourself slumping over.  Be sure to move your mouse with sweeping motions, using your whole arm in order to avoid wrist injuries. Check out this online resource for more information.

Light Up Your Life

Proper lighting in your home office is absolutely essential. Too bright and you’ll be battling glare off of your monitor. Not bright enough will cause eyestrain.  A proper desk lamp should have an adjustable arm and head which will allow you to direct the light down toward the keyboard and papers. If you don’t need to read something on the desk, reflecting you light off the wall behind your monitor will bathe your workspace in a soothing glow. Use blinds or drapes to eliminate harsh light from outdoors. If possible, avoid white, reflective furniture.

Allow in the Atmosphere

Now that you’ve surrounded yourself with the proper ergonomic furniture and equipment, don’t forget about atmosphere. Your workspace should be as unique as you are. Paint the walls a favorite color and don’t forget photographs, drawings and quotes that put you in good mood.

Walking into your home office each morning should make you feel awesome.


Diagram of proper desk ergonomics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergonomics

10 Principals of Ergonomics http://www.danmacleod.com/ErgoForYou/10_principles_of_ergonomics.htm

Online Resource for Ergonomic equipment: http://www.ergonomichome.com/


Check out our other article on this topic: Alternative Home Office Solutions