Like many solo entrepreneurs, I spend hours in front of my computer each day and home office ergonomics is extremely important to my physical and mental health.
Photographers wear a lot of hats in addition to creator of images — I edit my photos, deliver my client galleries, manage my website, manage my social media accounts, (admittedly pretty poorly), do all of my book-keeping, and now I”m working on an online photography course.
So when the pandemic shutdowns hit and the time I spent in front of my computer increased, I decided to improve my home office ergonomics so I could work more comfortably and productively. These are some of the things I found incredibly helpful!
NEW PANDEMIC PURCHASES
A new chair. I was using an antique farmhouse chair with a memory foam cushion, and even though I loved the chair for the aesthetic, it was terrible for my back. I got a new chair with adjustable lumbar support, adjustable neck rest, and adjustable height. I realize that makes me sound like I’m 1000 years old but at this point I don’t care — I just want to be able to work in comfort. All of those adjustments are critical to making sure your feet can be flat on the floor (or footrest) with your thighs parallel to the ground. I also wanted a mesh chair so that it would be cooler and the seat wouldn’t get flattened after a couple of months.
A foot rest. When my chair is at the proper height for my arms and head, my feet don’t touch the floor. So I got this footrest.
Lighting. I didn’t have a desk light because I didn’t have room for on my desk. I found one that clips on top of my monitor and I can’t tell you how much I love it. I can adjust the brightness and the color temperature and it doesn’t take up any room. Best of all I can see my desk when I’m working at night!
A timer. I have an app on my computer but I love my mechanical timer. This one is stainless steel and shaped like an apple. I set it for 25-40 minutes to make sure I get up and take a 5 minute break. I usually do stretches inspired by this Yoga With Adrienne video. I use the Pomodoro Method to work, but even if you don’t it’s important to get up and move around so that you aren’t sitting all day.
Blue Light glasses. Too much blue light can cause eye fatigue and even macular degeneration. So I recently purchased some blue light glasses to use in the evening. These have yellow lenses and fit over glasses, but there are dozens on Amazon to choose from.
THINGS I HAD THAT ARE WORKING PRETTY WELL
Desk riser. Sitting “too much” is supposed to have all kinds of negative long-term health effects, but years ago I noticed that when I sat too much, I got hip pain. So I purchased a VariDesk desk riser and it helped a lot, being able to stand up sometimes depending on what I”m working on. Mine is pretty clunky and expensive; the newer ones are sleeper and easier to operate but I still use mine regularly.
Monitor Adjustments. The top line of your screen is supposed to be at or below eye level. Because of my desk riser, my monitor is a little high, but with my new chair I’ve been able to come closer to the ideal. Your monitor should also be about arms length in front of you, and it should be tilted at a 10 or 20 degree angle.
THINGS I’M STILL STRUGGLING WITH
Keyboard. I use a Mac, and I bought a wrist lift for my mouse (I use my mouse a lot for photoshop), but I haven’t purchased an ergonomic keyboard yet. It’s on my list. I have no idea why apple hasn’t created one of their own. If you have any recommendations please let me know!
Desk. My desk is small (especially with two monitors on it) because it is located in the living room. At some point I do want to rethink my office space but for now that would take way too much time and energy and I’m interested in quick fixes to my home office ergonomics problem.
I’d love to hear from you, please let me know if you have any recommendations for me! Or if you try any of these products and like them!
Note that I am an Amazon affiliate and I will earn an affiliate commission if you make any purchases using the links above. However I only link to products I purchased on my own and love!
Photo credit: Arnel Hasanovic