THE ADVENT OF THE HOME OFFICE
In the days leading up to Singapore’s nationwide Circuit Breaker in April, customers flocked to our retail showroom to hastily purchase an ergonomic chair that would support them through the next month of working from home. Now, 3 months later, it looks like working from home is going to be part of the new normal, with many set to continue this arrangement long-term. It’s become evident that a conducive work setup at home is the new professional necessity.
…designed in a way that makes it comfortable and effective for people who use it for their work
Source: Cambridge Dictionary
It’s not just about owning the right chair: What are the elements of an ergonomic setup?
Here’s our guide on setting up a workspace at home that will be beneficial for both your work productivity and health.
Let’s start with the desk. Whether you have a specific work desk or make use of shared tables, it goes without saying that for maximum productivity your work surface should be clean and free of clutter. Make use of shelving or storage accessories to stow away items and retrieve them with ease.
The design for 360º Container is a perfect example for the way it solves the problem of keeping all the contents of a drawer accessible.
Combine the Sayl Chair and 360º Container for a simple and functional workspace.
Image credit: Herman Miller
Good posture is the essential foundation for comfort, energy and health when working long hours.
Pointers to note:
Eye level. Use a desktop monitor raised to your eye level or slightly below. If you are using a laptop, make use of a laptop stand to raise the screen to the appropriate height. A makeshift solution is to simply stack some books below your laptop, although this is less ideal as it affects keyboard access.
Arms. Your elbow should be at a 90 degree angle with support for your wrists and forearms to prevent strain.
Sitting position. Now onto the seating. Even though it may feel comfortable to slouch, put one leg up or cross the legs as we habitually do, it’s important to maintain a proper sitting posture when working. A good work chair is one that supports the body’s natural mechanisms and linkages while being comfortable. Herman Miller’s kinematics research has a comprehensive explanation of the ideal sitting posture, and their iconic Aeron chair which was been a classic ergonomic work chair since 1994 is designed to support the body in this position.
“If an active body is at its strongest when standing, chest open and pelvis tilted slightly forward, it makes sense that you would be better off sitting like that too.”
Check out this instructional video of how to sit in an Aeron:
Sit all the way into the chair. The appropriate seat depth should relieve tension from your legs without touching the back of your knees. Your legs should be be bent at a 90 degree angle with your feet flat on the ground (or an elevated surface such as a stool, if necessary.)
The human body was not designed to sit still for long stretches of hours at a time. Staying in one position reduces the natural pumping action of the muscles that deliver nutrients to the intervertebral disks. This is also why we subconsciously fidget and shift our positions while sitting.
Herman Miller office chairs are designed with this in mind, enabling intuitive movement through its tilt functions while keeping your spine supported whatever position you’re in. These health-positive designs that provide not only static, but also active support.
As a sidenote for chairs, material is also important to consider, especially in Singapore. Long hours of skin contact with foam and fabric can easily lead to build up of heat and humidity in our climate. Breathable, woven mesh seating makes for much cooler seating over long hours.
Another option for enhancing physical mobility is to consider using a Sit-to-Stand table. These are height adjustable tables which allow you to transition effortlessly from working while standing or sitting.
Alternate between sitting and standing positions with the Atlas Desk, which allows you to adjust table height with just the touch of a button. This table is also suitable for clamping on a monitor arm.
Image credit: Herman Miller
4. Lighting and greenery
Use dedicated lighting to differentiate between work-mode and rest-mode. Cool-toned light has been proven to be most efficient for mental productivity, while warm-toned lighting creates a cozy atmosphere perfect for unwinding after the day’s work ends.
Working near a natural light source is ideal, but if this is not possible, make use of a task light on your work surface.
Consider and curate your ambient lighting with table lamps, floor lamps, wall lights and pendants.
When spending the entire day indoors, adjusting your lighting according to the time of day and activity is a great way to attune yourself to a daily rhythm, mimicking natural light progression through the day.
Lolly Table Lamp is a compact work light meets your people’s needs with its tilting head, charging ports, and touch-sensitive dimming settings—all features that will brighten any workspace.
Image credit: Colebrook Bosson Saunders
Flow Table Lamp is ideal as a work lamp in the home or in professional office environments, where the sculptural design provides optimum flexibility in lighting even large desks.
Image credit: Normann Copenhagen
Being stuck indoors has also got us thinking about how to bring the outdoors in- and what better way than to begin introducing greenery into our homes? Some simple, hardy indoor plants to grow in Singapore’s climate include the Sensevieria (snake plant) and money plant.
Adding plants to your home office can bring major benefits, like adding character to your workspace, improve productivity and increase creativity.
Image credit: (Left) @alexandercarlo (Right) @tomdixonstudio
What other elements are essential for a good home office?
Let us know in the comments below, or take part in our Instagram contest (click here) and stand a chance to win an Aeron chair.
Till then, we’ll see you in store!