Technically speaking if you’re working from home your home office needs to meet ergonomic safety standards.

If you work for a big company with great resources they really ought to provide an onsite check for you- especially if you primarily work from home.

Here are four things we can all do to help set up a safe and productive home office – these tips are also very useful when setting up your children’s desks – they should NEVER be studying on the sofa/on their beds…..

1. Get a decent chair – for more information click here

2. Learn how to adjust your chair

Here’s a few things that you can do to adjust your chair to suit you.  

  • alter its height until your shoulders are relaxed, not slumped, in the working position;
  • adjust the backrest into the small of your back;
  • ensure the seat pan is flat or sloping slightly downwards at the front;
  • use a footrest if there is still any pressure under your thighs. Alternatively, lower your desk (if you can) as well as your chair;
  • learn the elements of correct posture, and practice it!

3. Provide good, even light

Your whole working surface should be evenly illuminated, without shadows near your hand. Concealed fluorescent lighting is good (the tubes are cool, the light is well dispersed,and they have a long life); consider an extra desk lamp as well, but ensure that the light source itself is covered, and is kept out of your field of view.

Use curtains to control screen reflections or bright sunlight, and don’t sit facing a screen with bright daylight (like a window) beyond and behind the screen. Don’t put up with a dark or shiny desktop: they should be a light to medium color, matt finish.

4. Give yourself plenty of desktop space

Why not put your screen or laptop on a mobile, articulated holder? You can adjust it to suit (a good distance: about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen level with your forehead), then use the handy space under it to move your keyboard out of the way. 700 mm is a good standard desk height, but will need to be lower for shorter people.

Many desks are still far too high. Put the things you use a lot within a comfortable arm’s reach (eg phone, notepad, reference files).

the stand up desk

Your Home Office Set Up

A desk should be 900 mm deep (front to back)for comfortable screen viewing, and your desk should not be thick (30 mm maximum).

Finally the last office related consideration…. the standing desk.

Personally I think these are a great resource & one that many of my patients would benefit from having access to.

Ideally I would advise alternating between a sitting & standing desk to avoid the negative effects of both, and again make sure you take regular breaks, set yourself & your desk space up properly & use an anti fatigue mat.

Article by Dr Mia Rabjohn (Osteopath)

To learn more about ergonomics click here.


A great resource to refer to is the Officewise booklet produced by Comcare 2010

Comcare.gov.au,. (2015). Comcare – Home. Retrieved 2 May 2015, from http://www.comcare.gov.au

Dohrmann Consulting,. (2014). What is Ergonomics? – Dohrmann Consulting. Retrieved 2 May 2015, from http://www.ergonomics.com.au/what-is-ergonomics/

Hoy, D., March, L., Brooks, P., Blyth, F., Woolf, A., & Bain, C. et al. (2014). The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Annals Of The Rheumatic Diseases, 73(6), 968-974. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204428

Sauser, R. (2015). UCLA Ergonomics – 4 STEPS to Setup Your Workstation. Ergonomics.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2 May 2015, from http://ergonomics.ucla.edu/office-ergonomics/4-steps.html


Standupdeskstore.com,. (2015). The Stand Up Desk Guide To Better Posture. Retrieved 3 May 2015, from http://www.standupdeskstore.com/standing-news/the-stand-up-desk-guide-to-better-posture/