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Settling into your home office?

The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically changed our lives in an incredibly short amount of time. Nearly every aspect of our normal lives has changed, from our interactions with family and friends to our trips to the grocery store to the way we do our jobs. 

Now, more and more businesses have made an off-the-cuff transition to remote working environments. As a result, many of us are working from home in less than desirable workspaces.

Luckily, there are a few easy solutions you can consider if you’re looking to settle into your home office.


Ergonomics is key in any workplace environment. Whether you’re in a downtown Highrise or in a cozy corner of your home with a garden view, optimizing the physical and environmental aspects of ergonomics can greatly improve your health, well being, and work performance. Some key factors to consider include efficiency, comfort, and cognitive ergonomics. 

EFFICIENCY

First and foremost, to be efficient, you should have a dedicated workspace for yourself. Though it may have been tempting to work from your dining room table, living room couch, or another similar area, you have likely already noticed that making a routine out if it is not very efficient. Poor posture, lack of storage, and disruptions from others in the household all contribute to an inefficient workspace. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a space:

  1. Lighting. Try to maximize natural light wherever possible, and minimize glare. This may require plants or objects to be moved, and windows to be opened and closed as appropriate throughout the day. Use room lights and lamps when required to reduce the likelihood of eye strain and headaches.
  2. Noise Control. Although it may be more challenging for those of us who have found themselves at home with our kids, choosing a quiet location with minimal distractions is ideal. A room with a door that you can close or simply on a separate level of your home will allow you to reduce noise levels and minimize distractions far better than popping up your laptop in the kitchen. If you don’t have this kind of space, consider getting some headphones that can help dampen the noise around you when you need a bit of extra focus.
  3. Storage. Organization is critical to efficiency and storage plays an important role in your ability to keep your workspace organized. Storage can also be used creatively to make a small workspace more efficient. 

COMFORT

Your comfort is as important to your quality of work as your mattress is to your quality of sleep. Here are some simple ways you can improve the comfort of your workspace. 

  1. Home Office Chair and Desk Set-up. A desk and chair are a must for a home office. It's important that your chair is adjustable and is an appropriate design for the you. If the chair is a good fir, it will help support your body and promote good posture. A sit-stand desk can offer the option to alternate between sitting and standing positions, further enhancing comfort and improving ergonomics by reducing the risk of developing lower back pain.
  2. Temperature. Maintaining a comfortable home-office temperature will promote comfort and productivity. Get a space heater if you space is too chilly or consider picking a space with a window you can crack open if it gets too warm.
  3. Other Ergonomic Aids For Workers At Home. There are several other physical aids that can to improve comfort and productivity in the home office. These include a separate, and ergonomically designed, keyboard and mouse; keyboard tray; wrist and footrests; a monitor stand to allow the screen to be placed at an optimal height and distance

COGNITIVE ERGONOMICS

Cognitive ergonomics is the branch of ergonomics that focuses on the mental processes involved in processing or handling information. Simply put it is the ergonomics of the brain. Cognitive ergonomics seeks to apply the growing body of knowledge from cognitive or brain science to mental processes including perception, memory, attention, decision-making and learning. Good cognitive ergonomic practices find the balance between human cognitive abilities and limitations and the environments in which people work or the systems they work with. The goal of cognitive ergonomics is to increase productivity and reduce human error.

Cognitive ergonomics covers a wide variety of domains within the work environment from mental workload to human reliability and from human-computer interaction to workplace stress. Applications for cognitive ergonomics can include the use of file sharing systems to encourage communication or the design of software to ensure ease of use. 


DO ERGONOMICS LEAD TO INCREASED PRODUCTION?

Yes! Ergonomics help streamline the workspace which can lead to increased production. In an inefficient, uncomfortable, poorly designed space, you’ll stop work on a more frequent basis to stretch and walk around or adjust your body due to strain. However, if your workspace is well thought out, your body will be able to endure 8 hours behind your computer reducing the risk of abusing necessary breaks and rest periods and decreasing fatigue-related errors.

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