Today I am going to save you potentially thousands of dollars. And I am going to give you this information for free. Consider it my investment in your long-term business success.
You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. The information in this post is worth thousands of dollars over your lifetime. How do I know? Because I didn’t take this information seriously enough early in my life and I’ve paid. And paid. And I am still paying.
Maybe I can save you the same experience.
If you work from home or work in a home office, setting up an ergonomically correct workspace is one of the most important things you will do. Why?
Because if you get this wrong, you’ll be working to pay for medical bills instead of groceries, utilities, and vacations.
Very Expensive Bad Habits
Would you like some examples? See if any of these look familiar to you.
Sprawling out on the couch?
How about sitting cross legged on the couch?
Does working at the kitchen table or island look familiar?
Or how about this favorite couch slouch (pregnant or not)?
Every one of these is so bad for your body. And yet people will sit like this for hours a day, day after day, week after week.
The Real Costs of Bad Posture
Do you think I’m exaggerating with the thousands of dollars? Let me provide you with some details.
Do you have any idea how much dealing with carpel tunnel will cost you? (Doctors, tests, etc.)
Have you priced physical therapy lately? (Well over $100/hour and you’ll be going many times.)
Have you priced an MRI for when a disc in your back is bulging or herniated? (You don’t want to know.)
Have you priced a shot into your back to stop the pain and inflammation from said herniated disc? (Mine was almost $1k and that was years ago. I can’t imagine what they are now.)
Add in appointments with doctors, specialists, etc.
Do you know how many hours of billable work time you will lose when you can’t sit in a chair and you can’t work? (Actually, forget hours. You’ll be measuring it in weeks or months.)
If you damage your back or your neck, it won’t heal in a week. By the time it bothers you to the point you will finally make doctor’s appointment because you recognize you have a real problem, you are far enough gone that it will take months to heal. Or years. Or you may struggle with it off and on the rest of your life. Yes, you can do that much damage.
When your body hurts, it is telling you to stop. When you walk around for a minute to shake it off and sit down and keep working in the same bad way, you are simply compounding the long-term problem.
Proper Home Office Ergonomics
If you think you cannot afford to buy a proper chair and desk, think again. You cannot afford not to buy the proper chair and desk. You can spend a few hundred dollars on them now or spend thousands of dollars correcting your problems after you lounge on the couch and sprawl on the kitchen table or floor.
If you aren’t sure about the proper way to sit at a desk, here are a couple of diagrams to help you. The important keys to remember are these.
Your lower back needs to be supported.
Your feet need to be flat on the ground or supported by a stool if your legs are shorter.
The top of your computer screen should be at or just below eye level. If it isn’t, you need to put it on something. For example, if you have a laptop you MUST place it on a stand like this or this as seen in the illustration below. If you put it flat on the desk or table in front of you, it is too low.
Your computer screen should be about an arm’s length from your eyes.
Your head and/or neck should not be thrust forward.
Your arms should be at a comfortable and relaxed 90 degree angle when typing.
You should not have to reach forward or up for your mouse.
There is nothing you can invest in early in your business that will return to you many times over as much as a few hundred dollars invested in a good chair and desk. Not a pretty antique table because you want a cute office. But a real, honest-to-goodness desk with a roll out keyboard holder. Not a soft cute chair that looks great with your rug, but a real, honest-to-goodness office chair with lumbar support.
If you absolutely cannot buy a desk and chair today, at the very least get off the couch. Put your computer on a table on a pile of books so it is at the proper height. Find a way to get your keyboard in your lap or something like that so you are at least reaching down to use it and not up and forward. Buy an inexpensive lumbar roll like this one and use it to support your back.
Getting Up Regularly From Your Desk
Even after you get an ergonomically correct desk and chair, you still have one more step. You must get up every twenty to thirty minutes and move around. I know how hard this is. When I get in a creative zone the last thing I want to do is disrupt that flow and move around. But it is necessary and important. There are lots of timer widgets for your computer or phone. There are even ones that will pop up on your screen and disrupt your work. Whatever you want, install one and use it.
Your body needs to adjust regularly. Use the time to:
- Throw in a load laundry
- Chop something for dinner
- Brush your teeth
- Get a snack
- Empty your wastebasket
The important thing is to get up and move around. Use different muscles and give your body a break.
This post is my thousand dollar investment in your business. Use it well! And please tell me in the comments how you are going to invest in your body health starting today.