Ergonomic workspaces are critical for improving comfort and wellbeing while boosting productivity and concentration levels during your work day. And while investing in premium-quality ergonomic office furniture is something worth aspiring to, the reality is that not everyone is able to afford top-of-the-range home office furniture right off the bat.
Sometimes you need to come up with a practical solution to suit your immediate needs, especially when working from home without the luxury of your employer covering the costs of your office furniture. The good news is that if you play it smart, you can create a functional home office on a budget, which is designed with ergonomic regulations in mind. In this handy guide, we’ll show you how to create a home office in South Africa that’s ergonomic-friendly without breaking the bank.
While you’re here, why not bookmark some of our other resources to help you along the way?
- Professional Ergonomist’s 11 Tips to Working from Home
- Why is Having an Ergonomic Office Chair Important?
- The Secret to Creating the Perfect Work Station at Home
- 5 Steps to Creating Healthier Habits When Working from Home
How to create an ergonomically-friendly workstation – on a budget:
Get your seating right
There are some areas where you can cut a few corners when it comes to your home office but having the right chair is not one of them. If you’re still working from your bed or couch, it’s probably time to invest in a good office chair as soft seating does not support your lower back which can result in aches and pains. Considering how many hours of the day we spend seated, investing in an ergonomic chair is worth that extra bit of cash.
Fortunately, these days there are many ergonomic chairs on the market which offer great value for money. For example, the Eden Highback Swivel & Tilt chair from the All Office Value Collection – it’s affordable and features an ergonomic design to help improve posture and comfort.
Browse more ergonomic office chairs under R3000
Ensure you have a good work surface and are sitting optimally
A good office desk goes hand in hand with a good office chair when creating a functional, ergonomic-friendly workstation. You’re going to want to ensure that your feet are flat on the floor when sitting at your office desk and that your elbows are above desk height (at a 90-degree angle when typing) to avoid shoulder strain. If you can’t place your feet on the floor, use a footrest, small box or raised platform for support.
Recommended: Value Collection Foldup Desk
Position your monitor correctly
Your eyes dictate your posture, so it’s important to position your screen or monitor correctly by placing it directly in front of you and raising it to eye-height (your neck should not be bent or strained when fixing eyes on the screen). If you’re working from a laptop, this might mean investing in an external keyboard and mouse so you can use a laptop stand to ensure your laptop screen is eye-level. However, if you can’t afford a laptop stand, you can work around this by placing your laptop on a stack of books or a sturdy shoe box.
TIP: To avoid eye strain, make sure your screen is an arm’s reach away from you and follow the 20-20-20 rule i.e. look 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds to allow your eyes to recover from long periods of close viewing.
Don’t remain seated for hours at a time
Our bodies are designed to move, which is why staying seated for prolonged periods can have seriously negative consequences – such as lower productivity, increased strain and discomfort, and circulation problems – even if you’re using an ergonomic chair. That’s why it’s recommended to move your body at frequent intervals by standing up, going for a brief walk or doing some stretches.
TIP: You might also want to consider intermittent standing, whereby you switch between sitting and standing during your workday. Sit-to-stand desks can be pricey but nowadays there are some amazing desktop products available, such as the LapStand LEVIT8 (pictured below) which gives you the freedom to instantly transform any desk into a sit-to-stand desk. Learn more about the benefits of sit-to-stand working here.