I'd been struggling a little recently with a painful shoulder and knew that it was purely because of the work I was doing and the position of my desk, chair and laptop. Sometimes I can work up to 10 hours a day with only my right hand moving the mouse and I knew that this was the cause of my pain.
As a self-employed person, I don't have endless funds to splash out on a new home office but I knew that I had to do something to improve my current set up or I would risk not being able to work at all.
I took a little time to investigate the in and outs of ergonomics. According to one source: "Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human well-being and overall system performance".
I translated this as: "Setting up your equipment so you're not in pain".
So what could I do to improve the way I was working without having to replace the furniture that we already have? Looking at the image accompanying this article, it's all about the position of your body in relation to your equipment. I found another article which demonstrated the optimum measurements for desk height, chair height and screen height, along with positioning for your legs, feet, arms, hands and eyes.
The measurements for my equipment vs body were way out, so it's no wonder my shoulder was so painful. Here's what I did to improve the situation:
1) Purchased a lumbar support pillow £8.99 - we have quite an expensive, heavy duty office chair so I didn't just want to replace it but the seating position was not right in relation to the desk and the floor and it offered no back support whatsoever. In addition to the support that the lumbar pillow provides, it also brings you forward on the chair which brings you closer to the desk. Easily attached to the chair with an adjustable strap, this is a great addition to the chair.
2) Purchased an adjustable foot rest £12.30 - Adjusting the chair for a better seating position in relation to the desk meant that my feet didn't touch the floor, causing aching legs throughout the day. The foot rest not only means that my feet are now flat, it also allows me to exercise my lower legs with the pivoting base. It does also claim that the surface has a massage surface but I can't say that this really makes that much of a difference to me.
3) Purchased an adjustable laptop stand £13.99 - now I'd got my body and furniture to the right heights/positions, I needed to adjust my laptop. Having just got my first pair of varifocal glasses, this one was really important as I was struggling enough as it is (another problem caused by staring at a screen for too many hours per day). The laptop stand allows me to raise my laptop to the optimum height without straining my eyes or my neck. And this one is so light and portable (and comes with a little bag!) that I can also take it away with me.
When I get the chance to try some out for suitability, I also plan to get myself a separate keyboard too which will really finish off the new and improved office but so far, so good! My shoulder is improving every day and I'm much more comfortable throughout the working day.
And all for just over £35!