Working from your home office during COVID-19 – 5 Simple Ideas

working from your home office using existing furniture

For the majority of us, COVID-19 has changed the way we work. Working from your home can present numerous challenges. Here are 5 simple ideas to successfully setup your home office using your existing furniture.

Many of us will be working at our dining room or kitchen table using a simple 4-legged chair, or on our bed, or lounging on the sofa….hardly an ergonomic office setup!

Unfortunately, many of us do not have the necessary home office furniture to setup an ergonomically correct workstation with an adjustable monitor, separate keyboard and mouse, adjustable chair, and a footrest. Unless we are prepared to “spend big”, we need to use the furniture that we have to create an office in our home that doesn’t result in back, neck, shoulder and other sitting-related ailments.

According to Spine Health, a trusted resource for back and neck pain relief, it’s important to set up your home or work office correctly to prevent back and neck pain.

If you do not have a perfect home office setup, follow these 5 simple ideas to improve the way you work at home. By using items around the house, you can quickly convert your workspace to create a healthier and better working environment.

Watch our short video for simple ideas on setting up your home office without breaking your bank account!

1. Find a flat work surface in your home office

A good working surface could include a dining room table, kitchen table or even a portable table.

2. Use any sturdy chair

Every office needs a chair, and unfortunately we can’t all afford an expensive office chair for use in our home! As an alternative, use any sturdy chair that you have, for example a dining room chair.

  • If your feet are not flat on the floor, place a book or box under your feet for stability and support.
  • When seated on your chair, make sure that your wrists and forearms are resting on the table. Ensure your elbow is bent at approximately 900. If you are sitting too low, add a cushion or two.
  • If you need some support for your lower back, roll up a towel or use a cushion and place it in the lumbar area or “small” of your back.

3. Improve your posture in your home office by setting the height of your laptop

  • Sit upright and centre the monitor directly in front of you.
  • Raise the laptop height with books until the top of the screen is slightly below the level of your eyes.
  • Position your laptop at approximately an arm’s length away from you. If you are wearing bifocal or reading glasses, move the monitor closer to alleviate eyestrain and hunching.
  • Due to the size of lap top screens, the font size may need to be adjusted in order to prevent excessive forward leaning or hunching.

4. Separate keyboard and mouse

  • The keyboard should be flat on the work surface or slightly angled.
  • Move your keyboard close to the front of the table.
  • Centre your body between the “G” and “H” keys.
  • Place the mouse as close as possible next to and at the same height as the keyboard to minimize forward or side reach.

5. Take regular breaks

Whether at work or your home office, do not sit for longer than 45-60 minutes without taking a break. Our bodies are meant to move and sitting still for expended periods can hinder blood circulation.

Apart from taking regular breaks, also consider alternating your posture between sitting and standing.  Use books or boxes to create 2 different height levels, one level for correct placement of your laptop so that it is at eye level height when standing, and another to place your keyboard and mouse at your elbow height as you would when you are sitting.

Alternating between sitting and standing in your home office has the following important advantages:

  • Stimulates circulation.
  • It keeps intervertebral discs in a better shape.
  • Decreases the occurrence of varicose veins.
  • Improves concentration.


Author: John Karle
Director at Karo Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd
16 Dec 2020 (rev 1)

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