The term "ergonomics" is derived from the Greek „ergon“ (work) and „nomos“ (law/rule) and refers to guidelines for optimised working conditions that are designed to protect and promote the physical and mental health of workers. This includes things like furniture, equipment and appliances, as well as a working environment with optimal lighting conditions and temperature.
Since there are many important guidelines to protect you from long-term strain, we want to show you how the Woodcessories team is able to work at their desks in a healthy way.
In the following, we provide you with a small guide on the topic of ergonomic working at the desk, because even in the home office, these guidelines should be observed in order to create a better and, above all, healthier working environment.
First and foremost: Saving money at the expense of your health is not worth it. Sure, good office equipment is expensive, but it is better to invest more money in high-quality ergonomic work equipment and furniture than to be burdened with the health consequences later.
Need help getting an overview of ergonomic workplace design? The CDE sequence (german: STA) is always a good place to start. The most important thing is the right chair. The correct posture makes a lot of difference and enables your body to work healthily. After that, you should look for an ergonomic desk and work equipment. Only then should you dedicate yourself to 'fine tuning'.
Discover our sustainable desk accessories for an ergonomic workplace!
Ergonomic Desk Chair
Unfortunately, no matter how comfortable your favourite chair is, if it doesn't meet the right requirements, it too will cause back pain in the long run. The first no-go is the lack of armrests. Any good swivel chair should have adjustable armrests and backrest, and the backrest should also be adapted to the shape of your spine with a curve (called a lumbar bulge) at belt level to support your lower back.
The optimum seat height is 42-53 cm, depending on your height, with a seat width of 40-80 cm and sufficient freedom of movement under the desk (at least one hand should fit between the edge of the desk and the thigh). The best sitting posture is an open sitting angle of 110°-120° between upper body and thigh and at least 90° between upper and lower leg. At best, the armrests should form a line with the surface of the desk to provide optimal support while working at the desk.
|Ergotopia Nextback ergonomic desk chair||Trend Office desk chair to-strike comfort pro|
Height adjustability is also a must for the ideal desk. This means that the desk can not only be adjusted to your individual height, but can also be transformed into a standing desk at any time. Regularly alternating between sitting and standing is recommended, whereby it is best to follow the 40-14-5 rule, i.e. 40 minutes sitting, 15 minutes standing and 5 minutes moving.
Your desk is at the right height when your forearms can rest relaxed on the tabletop at a 90° angle. Whether sitting or standing, you should put equal weight on both soles of your feet and place them fully on the floor. In addition, you can use a footrest or stool and invest in a foot mat that is easy on the body and relieves the strain on your muscles when standing for longer periods of time..
To ensure an ergonomically optimised workplace, your desk should have sufficient working space of at least 160 x 80 cm on which you can store all essential work utensils within easy reach. It's best to give all your utensils a fixed place and arrange the desk as symmetrically as possible to avoid a visual imbalance that can subconsciously distract you. Slanted shelves and holders are also recommended to make it easier to look at documents without constantly straining your neck when leaning forward. Put everything unimportant in drawers and tuck your cables out of the way to keep your workspace organised and clean. A visually pleasing work environment can do a lot for your concentration and motivation!
Finally, set up your desk ergonomically. Never sit with your back to the door, as this automatically makes everybody feel uncomfortable, and rather set up your desk parallel to the window. This way you get plenty of daylight without being blinded (a low-reflection surface also helps here), and simultaneously ensure fewer possible distractions.
|Ergotopia Pro X electrically adjustable desk||Unistation height-adjustable desk|
With an ergonomic desk and desk chair, you are already doing a lot for your posture and relieving the strain on your back muscles. But when working long hours at a computer screen, it is even more important to protect your eyes and wrists with the right technological accessories. It's not for nothing that people warn against overstraining these areas. Support equipment that aligns your screen, keyboard & co. correctly and ergonomically can help prevent long-term injuries.
Ergonomic Monitor Stand
Although monitor stands are usually part of the basic equipment, it's high time for all those who don't already have one! An ergonomic monitor stand brings your screen to the right working height, relieves your eyes and improves your concentration. Here you often have the choice between fixed monitor stands, swivelling monitor mounts for more flexibility or screens with an integrated adjustable base.
No matter which monitor support you choose, for ergonomic screen work, the top edge of your monitor should be at eye level or slightly lower and the tip of your nose should point to the centre of your screen. This keeps your posture upright and tilts your gaze ever so slightly downwards, relieving strain on both your eyes and neck. In general, your monitor should be 45-70 cm away from your face and as far back on your desk as possible. These guidelines increase depending on the size of your screen. Therefore, for a screen larger than 18 inches, the distance should be approx. 80 cm, and for larger 24-inch monitors it should be at least 90 cm.
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|Woodcessories Monitor Stand||Ergotron LX Monitor Arm|
The optimal screen size varies and should be adapted to your most frequent activities. A study by the University of Utah looked at productivity levels at different screen sizes and found that widescreen monitors of 24 inches increase your productivity by 52% over small 18 inch screens, while using two 20 inch monitors led to up to 44%. However, when working with spreadsheets and datasets, the dual monitor set-up wins with a 29% improvement, as parallel working with better resolution is recommended.
Ergonomic Laptop Stand
Laptop stands should similarly be used for working with laptops and notebooks in order to raise your device to the optimal working height and to facilitate longer screen work. Here you should also ensure sufficient distance to the screen, with a 15 inch laptop being recommended for professional activities. Even better, however, is the addition of an external monitor, which allows you to work more efficiently with a higher resolution.
Click here for our ergonomic laptop stands!
|Woodcessories Laptop Stand||Holzbutiq Laptop riser stando|
An external keyboard is a given for monitors and to be recommended for laptops. It should be close enough to your body, but at least 10 cm away, to ensure the best posture for your arms. For proper relief of your wrists, however, you should get a wrist rest with padding that protects your joints. Your hand should not be bent and should lie straight in relation to your forearm in order to avoid overstraining and discomfort in the long run. We also recommend a two-part ergonomic keyboard for better arm posture and therefore less neck pain.
|Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop||Logitech wireless divided keyboard|
An ergonomic mouse should not be missing either, because it also helps to protect your wrists and prevents RSI syndrome (also called "mouse arm"). A vertical mouse in particular helps the hand by placing your hand vertically on the mouse and thus corresponds to the intuitive arm posture. At best, the mouse arm and the edge of the table should be at right angles to each other and as close to your keyboard as possible so that you don't have to stretch across the table.
|Logitech MX Vertical advanced ergonomic mouse||CSL vertical mouse v2|
Further tips for an ergonomic home office:
- In addition to regular breaks and exercise, you should also make sure you drink enough and ventilate regularly to help you concentrate. A working environment with a temperature between 20-24°C and an optimal humidity of about 50% is recommended.
- It's best to set up your home office in a noise-protected, bright room - daylight lamps can often help in darker rooms. It's also important to separate your work area from areas for eating or sleeping, so there are fewer distractions.
- Small desk workouts and meditations improve your concentration in the long run, and smart methods like the aforementioned 40-15-5 rule and Pomodoro technique (25 minutes of focused work and 5 minutes of break) help you increase and maintain your productivity throughout the day.