Ergonomic
Wellness Tips

As we continue to work from home and settle into our routines, some of us may begin to feel varied levels of discomfort. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of these pains, though it often starts with the equipment you use – and how you use it.

The following provides some helpful tips, considerations and a quick guide on some of our picks for height-adjustable desks that can help address common ergo issues when working from home.

Some Ergo Basics

Remember, fit and function are the main tenants of ergonomics, and they’re crucial when selecting a height-adjustable desk or office chair. Here are some key measurements to consider:

  • Proper seated elbow height is the measurement from elbow to floor while in the seated position, arm relaxed at your side (for most users the measurement will be somewhere between 25”-27”). Your chair should be adjusted so there is no pressure to the back of the legs.
  • Standing elbow height is the measurement from the elbow to floor. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms close to the body while taking this measurement (for most users this measurement will be somewhere between 39”-45”).
  • Focal distance is the distance of the monitor from the user, usually an arm’s reach from the body (there is also monitor height to consider – ideally the top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level).
  • Equipment to body distance is the maximum distance a frequently-used item should be placed away from the body for an extended period of time.
  • Maximum/minimum chair height should be adjusted so the thighs are parallel to the floor – you should not feel compression to the back of the thighs.

Ergo Equipment Considerations

Having the right space – before you invest in the right equipment, make sure your work environment is fit for the task. Assess your home for the following:

  • Clean up your space of any potential trip hazards (toys, boxes, extensions cords).
  • Ensure your fire alarm (and extinguisher if applicable) are up-to-date.
  • Watch electrical outlets, extensions and accessories you don’t want to spill liquids on these!
  • The work from home desk – the bottom line is anything that has good functionality, durability and solid range will require more monetary investment.
  • Right now, there are a range of options when it comes to free standing desks. We are recommending electric examples for the ease of adjustment and fine tuning.

Sit or Stand?

This question comes up a lot. Whether we sit or stand, the key is regular movement. Studies have shown that constant sedentary behaviors for long periods of time can wreak havoc on our bodies.

Movement is still the most important tip we can provide. We encourage you to move every 20-30 minutes, for 2-3 minutes. Stand up, stretch, use our stretch guide or just walk. This will circulate your blood, get oxygen to your muscles and wake up your metabolism.

If you have a stand/sit workstation there are different opinions and studies on stand/sit ratios. According to Jack Callaghan, a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology, the ideal sit-stand ratio lies somewhere between 1:1 and 1:3. Alan Hedge, Professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, suggests “Twenty minutes sitting (in a good posture), eight minutes standing (for sit-stand workstations) and two minutes of moving (gentle stretching, walking, etc.) as a ballpark goal for organizing work.”

Nearly all experts and professional ergonomists agree that we must pay attention to our bodies and frequently move before fatigue and pain are realized.