How to create a productive working environment at home

There are many people in the home office right now. The Industrieverband Büro und Arbeitswelt e.V. gives tips on how to work better and healthier in the home office

As a result of the protective measures against the corona virus, many people are currently working in their home offices. Above all, employees who have not previously worked from home often do not have a proper workplace there. They usually use a quickly set up, less ergonomic temporary solution that promotes concentration, but which has now become a permanent solution due to the ongoing situation. Against this background, the Industrieverband Büro und Arbeitswelt e. V. (IBA) provides tips on how to work better and healthier in the home office:

The right light at the workplace

Sunlight with its broad light spectrum contributes to a pleasant working atmosphere, especially in spring. However, disturbing light reflections on the monitor and glare from daylight should be avoided. For artificial lighting, indirect light sources are a good choice, provided they do not cause shadows or reflections on the monitor. Reflecting and shiny surfaces in the field of vision are also disturbing factors that can make work in the home office more difficult. A table with a glass top is therefore less suitable as a workstation.

What is a good distance from the monitor?

Ideally, the work surface should be at least 120 centimetres wide and 80 centimetres deep in order to have sufficient storage space and to ensure a sufficient viewing distance of at least 50 centimetres from the computer screen. In addition, a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse should also be used when working on the laptop. Without a monitor, the laptop should at least be raised – for example, by stacking books. The height of the screen is optimal if the top line is a little below eye level. The keyboard should be placed at a distance of 10 to 15 centimetres from the front edge of the table, upper and lower arms ideally form a right angle.

If the corresponding table is actually used for other purposes, it should be cleared for the time of the home office and only be used for working. Wherever possible, the workplace should remain permanently set up so that a reliable working environment is created. A further advantage: cables can be securely fixed, so they do not disturb other members of the household and are not a tripping hazard.

A height-adjustable chair for the back

It is very important to sit correctly. For this purpose, an office work chair or at least a swivel chair with adjustable seat height should be available. When sitting, the upper and lower legs should form a right angle and the lower back area should be supported by the backrest when sitting upright. Where such equipment is not available, care should be taken when choosing a chair to ensure that the seat height is appropriate in relation to the height of the desk. When working at the computer, it is important to sit a little higher than you are used to at home.

Movement does you good

In the home office, an organized, disciplined daily routine is extremely important. This also includes regular exercise. Frequent changes of posture between sitting, standing and walking activate the muscles and support the oxygen supply to the brain, not only in the office but also at home.

Breaks are important

Experts assume that the average concentration range is around 70 to 80 minutes in a row. Therefore, it makes sense to take shorter and shorter breaks in which the room is changed, if possible. It is also very important that there is also an “end of work” in the home office, when the computer is deliberately shut down.

Contactless with contact

Working in teams and communicating with colleagues becomes more abstract in the home office, since it only takes place virtually and often with a time delay. This makes digital collaboration tools with chat and video functions, shared file access in the cloud and so on all the more important. Although they do not replace direct contact, they do facilitate exchange.