Working from Home: 

Cheap Options to Address Poor Setups

If you are someone who works from home at the moment, you may be starting to feel some discomfort that is a result of a poor office setup.  There's a few reasons for this - and we're here to shed some light on them and ideas to help reduce the discomfort you may be experiencing.  Discomfort is your body signaling your brain that something is not right and ignoring these signals could cause future injury or conditions that will be a lot harder to repair later on - so let's get the information on how to change and make the changes now to prevent this from happening.

Poor Setups

1. Using a laptop on your lap.

It's called a 'lap-top', however the inventors of this modern office tool didn't predict the long term health implications of the user using the laptop on their laps for hours to work.  We have been hearing some troubling stories of late where clients have been resorting to the comfort of their couch or bed to use their laptops and now experiencing debilitating neck and shoulder pain as a result of looking down to their laptops while working long hours at home.

Image: Bad Posture Using a Laptop - head tilting forward causes strain to neck and shoulder muscles.

A simple and inexpensive solution is to place the laptop up so that the top of the screen is at eye level. You can do this by placing it on a pile of books, or for a more convenient and compact solution, using a laptop riser such as the example below.  

Once this position has been achieved - it's VERY IMPORTANT to note that you will now need a seperate keyboard and mouse for your laptop. Typing on the laptop keyboard when it is elevated without a seperate keyboard and mouse has the risk of causing wrist and forearm pain. Which brings us to the next poor setup... using a riser without a seperate keyboard.

Recommended Product:

ergonomic laptop riser stand
$75.00 AUD$50.00 AUD

2. Using a Laptop Riser Without a Seperate Keyboard and Mouse.

As stated above, it's a very wise decision to use a laptop riser or equivalent to work from your laptop at home, however positioning the laptop on a riser without a seperate keyboard and mouse can cause a lot of unnecessary wrist and forearm pain due to the extension of the wrist joint (see below image for the correct wrist posture while typing).  To create a wrist position that is more neutral - a seperate keyboard to use for your laptop that lies flat on a desk as well as a mouse that positioned your wrist in a neutral position, such as a vertical mouse, is crucial.

Another reason to use a seperate keyboard is to reduce eye strain and reduce fatigue and pain in your arms from over reaching.  The gold standard for ergonomics is to position the screen so that it is an arm length away from the body.  Using a seperate keyboard allows the laptop to be positioned in this manner and still have your keyboard close enough so that your arms are not outstretched and becoming easily fatigued.

Recommended Product:

3. Chair is Too Low or Desk Is Too High

The standard desk height is 70cm, however for the majority of the population, this height can either be too low or too high to allow the elbow to be in the best possible position to work.  

The goal is to have your elbow at a 90-100 degree angle and either at desk height or just a bit above desk height, as well as keeping your elbows beside your body.  If you cannot gain this position while seated at your desk, it is most probably because you need to adjust the height of your chair to reach your desk height.  

The solution for this is to use a pillow or two on your seat to create the height, however this solution is not the optimal as lumbar support for your back is also crucial to working long hours at your desk.  This is a solution only for short periods working at the computer.

This is where we believe it is important to invest in a good ergonomic chair.  An ergonomic chair should allow you to adjust the height of the chair, as well as provide the required lumbar support to ensure your body is in the best position possible to work.

Recommended Product:

Ergoform ergonomic office chairs
$550.00 AUD

4. Using a Tablet For Work That Is Positioned Too Low

Similar to number 1 on this list, workers have begun to transition their work from a laptop or computer to a tablet.  A tablet is versatile and compact so has become a desirable option for on-the-go working situations, however, looking down at a tablet can cause considerable neck and shoulder pain from the body using more effort to hold the head up from looking down.

There is a solution now that allows the tablet to be adjusted to eye level to prevent looking down.  The Universal Tablet Stand.  This stand is compact and flexible in its position so you can work optimally for a longer period of time.

Recommended Product:

Ergonomic tablet stand monitor arm for microsoft surface
$100.00 AUD$70.00 AUD

Let us know what you think of our list and please feel free to send us any questions or ideas to the team at: or leave a comment below of any other poor work from home setups you have come across!

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