3 ways to improve your home office during the virus pandemic

To optimise your work area, it's good to have a light-coloured desk so your eyes don't tire. Photo: DIY Academy/dpa

Working from home after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus required makeshift arrangements at first. But as the weeks have passed, your "home office" at the kitchen table or a cluttered desk in the living room may have become physically taxing.

Here are three simple ways to optimise your work area:

1. Light-coloured desk

Ideally your desk or work table should be light-coloured and matt. The reason, says the German Furniture Quality Assurance Association (DGM), is that eyes tire more quickly from glossy, reflective surfaces and stark colour contrasts, such as white paper on a dark surface. So if the table you're working on is dark, you should cover it with something light-coloured.

And if you have a choice, the table should be large enough so that the screen of your computer is between 50cm and 70cm away from your eyes, the DGM advises. The screen should also be somewhat elevated and in line with both the keyboard and your chair. This helps to prevent head and neck tension.

2. Adjustable chair

If you have an office chair or another piece of adjustable seating furniture, you should adjust it so that the angle between your thighs and calves is 90 degrees or somewhat greater, and your feet are flat on the floor. For a healthy sitting posture, the angle between your torso and thighs should be considerably greater than 90 degrees to keep you from gradually leaning forward towards the computer screen.

3. Natural or neutral white light

If possible, your working area should be positioned to get a lot of sunlight. Alternatively, you should check the light bulbs in your lamps. Neutral white lighting, or lighting similar to sunlight, is best for working areas.

This type of light is produced by energy-saving light bulbs and LEDs from 3,500 to 6,000 Kelvin, the unit of measurement for the hue of a light source. In most rooms of your home, you probably have light bulbs ranging from 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin. They emit "cosy," warm white light such as that from traditional incandescent bulbs.

If your work requires recognising colours well, the light source's colour rendering index (CRI), or Ra value, should be higher than that of normal lighting in living spaces, ie much higher than 80 Ra. – dpa

You can find the Ra value on the light bulb's packaging.

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