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Your essential healthy home office checklist

by Leo Wiles
26 October 2018

If you are anything like me 75 percent of your working day is spent at your desk at your laptop.  Not only is it bad news for my waistline – I’m sure I left it here somewhere – it has other potential health hazards too. Enter our healthy home office checklist: a list of things you should be doing in your home office or workspace.

We’re covering off on things like posture, your computer set up, eye strain risks and the environment of your home office – with suggestions based on guidelines offered by Worksafe QLD’s Ergonomic guide to computer based workstations. If you say yes to any of the below, you get one point. There’s a chance to get 30 points all up – so let us know your healthy home office checklist score in the comments!

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. To combat fatigue due to being static at your desk for hours, you…

+ take appropriate breaks
+ exercise when possible (preferably daily!)
+ stretch regularly
+ occasionally stand at your workstation for regular stints

POSTURE. To ensure optimum posture, you…

+ sit with your body close to the desk
+ ensure your head and neck are forward facing and in the ‘midline’ position (i.e. no backward arching of the neck or forward extension of the chin)
+ try to keep your shoulders relaxed and symmetrical and elbows slightly closer to the side of the body
+ operate the keyboard in a way that allows your forearms to be close to the horizontal and the wrists straight
+ use a chair with a backrest that supports your back (preferably with a curve that fits into the lower back)
+ adjust the seat pan tilt and backrest to ensure an open angle of 100-120 degrees (slightly more than a right angle) at the hip
+ keep your knees at a height lower or level with the hips
+ keep feet flat on the floor or on a footrest

ERGONOMICS. Your computer workstation is set up with…

+ a suitable height for your workstation desk (ideally, 680-720 mm from the top of the workstation to the floor).
+ adequate clearance to stretch legs under the desktop
+ the height of your screen is in ratio to your eye level
+ the placement of my keyboard is on a flat level service to reduce undue strain on your wrists.

EYE STRAIN. You’re warding off eye strain and visual fatigue with…

+ fonts of 12 point+ at a minimum of 160 percent view
+ regular breaks and eye exercises that allow for focusing on long distance
+ regularly checking the backlighting strength, and in editing mode using a grey background instead of a white one
+ ensuring that there is another light source than the computer screen
+ positioning the screen away from light sources and using desk lamps to minimise glare
+ positioning the screen one arm length away or slightly further to reduce visual fatigue

ENVIRONMENT. Your home office environment has…

+ sufficient ventilation, heating and or cooling that’s adequate for the season
+ a workspace that’s segregated from household hazards such as hot cooking surfaces
+ walkways that are free from clutter and trip hazards
+ operational smoke detectors
+ power outlets that are not overloaded with double adapters and power boards
+ earth leakage circuit protection in place
+ electrical cords that are safely tucked away rather than not loose and trailing
+ surge protectors in place for your computer hard drive and external hard drives.

What’s your healthy home office checklist score? Remember, it’s one point for each of the above so the closer you get to 30, the better!

Leo Wiles

Leo Wiles has worked as an editor, journalist and PR for over 20 years before recently retraining as a photographer. These days, she spends her time behind a lens, juggling her own clients with her work at Rachel's List, and her three gorgeous but lively kids.

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