How to create an ergonomic workstation for the at home freelancer

You’ve had a couple of weeks to get your nutrition in to check, as a work from home freelancer and we hope you’re feeling the benefits. What? You missed our blog on nutritional advice for freelancers, shocker - catch up here. Now, it’s time to check that your desk set-up is top notch and not causing you any discomfort. We would say get yourself comfy with a cup of tea and read on, but we do worry about hot liquids and the ergonomics of your chair may not be quite right…. ha, ha only joking, we’re not diving into a nanny state of health and safety extremes, we're just looking out for our much coveted freelance community on fivesquid. So here goes, our top tips on how to create an ergonomic workstation for the at home freelancer.

Disclaimer: You know this, but just to be crystal we're not doctors or profess to be qualified to offer any medical advice. We've researched some common practices and shared our findings. If you’re in any pain don’t delay, get it checked out by a physician and we hope they can rid you of pain asap. For the rest of you read on…


How to create an ergonomic workstation for the at home freelancer


Chair in relation to your desk

This is so important. If you can afford it get yourself a proper ergonomically designed chair that works for you. The height of the seat is important as is the depth of the chair - a taller person needs more height and more depth. A generic rule is to make sure your feet are flat on the floor (or foot rest) and your lap is parallel to the floor with just a very slight downward slope (knees slightly lower than hips). This all needs to be done in relation to the desk you're sitting at, obvs. Your arms need to be able to rest on the table so your wrist is supported by the table, or indeed a wrist support. Your elbows should be beside your body and form a right angle so you’re not putting any strain on your shoulders. It can take a while to find the sweet spot that ticks all these boxes, but once you do you’ll notice the difference. Just make sure no one messes with your space, once you do! Also, try to discipline yourself not to cross your legs or tuck a leg up on your chair - it’s really not that good for you.


Monitor position

Sit at your desk, in your new and improved position and look at your screen. If your eyes are not looking straight forward into the centre of your screen then your monitor is in the wrong place, some say that that the top of your screen should be at eyebrow level, but perhaps not if you’re rocking a Roger Moore - that eyebrow though! Generally, people need to raise their screens, you can buy specially designed monitor raisers or find a hefty book that’s been gathering dust on the book shelf. Also your screen shouldn’t be too close or too far away. To find the best position put your arms out in front of you, the tips of your fingers should just touch the screen.


Laptop use

The laptop is your best friend when freelancing it allows you to work anywhere, but it’s also your undoing. As you move your laptop around we (yep, the royal we) never think about setting up our ‘new workstation' to ensure everything is just as nature intended - let’s be honest we’ve never even thought of it. Same rules apply to your monitor as they do your laptop. Just think about it next time you think about curling up on the sofa to catch up on some reading or to blast through your inbox. Perhaps investing in a laptop stand and separate keyboard could help. A laptop can also cause ‘tech neck’ - see below.


Use your phone wisely

We’re all guilty of this one. Using your phone 24-7, we dread to think how many hours a day it really is, if you’re brave enough check out the app Moment to find out - let us know. Now pick up your phone… yep we guessed it, your phone is just above waist height and you’re looking down at the screen… not good! When you look at your phone, especially at your desk, make an effort to bring your screen to eye height (just like your monitor is, now set up) and avoid ‘tech neck'. You might feel odd doing it to begin with but you’ll soon notice the improvement even if you haven't noticed any ‘tech neck’ symptoms.

Natural light

We mentioned this in an earlier blog and the need for natural light cannot be exaggerated. Let the light flood in and make sure you're in a position to benefit from all that vitamin D whilst also being able to still see your screen. If it is a struggle to get natural light, a daylight lamp on your desk could be just the ticket.

Take a break

We’ve said it before take breaks, when working from home you can often forget to take regular breaks without the distraction of colleagues, tea breaks, the water cooler etc… this isn’t just social, it also helps to booster productivity. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to take efficient breaks - we got that covered too in our take a break blog.

We hope you are now sitting comfortably and your chomping at the bit to roll up your sleeves and deliver some top notch jobs to our community of fivesquid buyers. Why not be proactive and have a look at the requests jobs board to see if anything takes your fancy.


Source: NHS