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Long office hours are often necessary for freelance professionals. This is exactly why so many of us have chronic headaches, cracking wrists, tingling fingers, and stiff necks. All of these symptoms can be avoided by designing your home office with ergonomics on your mind. This article will summarize basics of home office ergonomic design.
CHAIR - Your chair is most important piece of furniture in your office. You want to find a comfortable chair that has following characteristics.
1. Adjustable height 2. Lower, raise, and tilt backwards 3. 16" to 20" off of floor 4. Lumbar support 5. Good backrest and wide enough to support shoulders 6. Chair's seat should allow 1"-4" of space between edge of chair and your knees 7. Front edge of seat is curved 8. 5 wheels 9. Padded armrests that can lower or raise
Before you purchase your chair, make sure to give it a test drive. If possible, move chair that you like in front of a desk and see how it feels. Adjust seat so that your feet are flat on floor. When you do this lumbar support should fit into small of your back. If chair fits your body and meets our guidelines, purchase chair. A good chair will cost anywhere from $400 - $2,000.
DESK - Before purchasing a desk, evaluate your needs. What is your profession? What equipment will you be using? How much desktop room will you need? Make sure to allow space for computer equipment, telephone, Rolodex, other office supplies, and writing room. Make sure that you will have room for heavily used items on your desk, or you might have to constantly stretch, twist, and turn to reach items that you need. Height-adjustable large tables are found to have cost-effective benefits. These tables let you move from keyboard to side table without having to hunch your shoulders.
KEYBOARD / MOUSE TRAY - Since it is so important to have your wrists at right height when using input devices, a tray system is important to consider as an option. Choose a system that has following features:
1. Height adjustable 2. Adjustable angle 3. Allows for upper arm relaxation by right angle position of arms.
You should place your keyboard 28"-30" off of floor. If your keyboard is too low you will slump over your keyboard, and if it is too high you will strain your wrists. You should also purchase a wrist pad for in front of your keyboard to cushion your wrists.