must-have items home office need

11 Important Items Your Home Office Need to Prevent Injury

by | Work from Home Wellbeing

11 important items your home office need to prevent injury
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Do you have the ergonomic items your home office needs?

Where have set up your workstation? In that corner near the window? Under the staircase? The cranny by the bed, the attic, in the kitchen, or maybe in your garage?

You’ve finally nailed your home office space. It excites you when you sit and work from your desk.

You knew what you wanted. A table. That swanky chair. Your laptop. The long-suffering cactus. Your cat snuggled on your feet. Or a dog, if you prefer. All colour-coded, of course.

But hold on a minute.

Is that the items your home office needs to prevent injury?

Does your backache when you sit at your workstation? Or does your wrist tingle? Is your neck heavy and stiff? Are your buttocks hurting after sitting for 2 hours?

Are you are beginning to wonder if your home office setup is causing you injury? As your pain is only present when you’re at your workstation.

Is your chair the culprit? Or is it the desk? Maybe it’s the laptop? Is your setup wrong? Do you have the right furniture?

To help you answer these questions, here are the essential items your home office need to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

1.      Adjustable Office Chair

You might have heard it being called an ergonomic office chair’. You need a chair that is comfortable and can adapt to fit you. Specifically, a chair molded to fit your size, shape, and height. A chair you can adjust to fit you.


Because your body needs support. Your back, neck, shoulder, legs, wrists, and hands all get tired after a prolonged period of sitting and working at a desk.

Consider this, your body never stops moving when you work. Even if you think you are staying still, some part of you is moving. From your neck moving up and down the screen. To your back adjust frequently to accommodate movement in the shoulder as you move the mouse.

Conversely, even if you’re still, your muscles are working hard to maintain that posture.

As such, sitting is tiring because your body must remain upright. Your elbows stay bent for you to work from your computer. Both your shoulders are carrying your arm unless you’re resting it on the armrest.

In summary, you never stop moving. As a consequence, your body gets tired and eventually, it needs a break. You would begin to feel the need to adjust, fidget, and change position.

And that’s what your chair must provide. It must provide support and also the ability to seamlessly accommodate those changes.

As such, you need a chair that can take the stress off your body. A chair that you can rest on and take a break. A chair that fits like a glove as you make adjustments.

No other working chair does that better than an adjustable ergonomic office chair.

A top-quality ergonomic office chair is the most important item your home office needs to protect yourself from musculoskeletal injuries.

2.      Computer Desk

I started off with a dining table. It didn’t take long before I developed wrist pain. My dining table was the culprit. It was too high. Too high for my chair. And it had sharp angular edges that dug into my wrist. After a few months, I developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A debilitating wrist injury.

You need a proper computer desk designed for computer work.

You might have picked a table from your home without thinking too much about it. After all, it’s flat, stable, and can hold a desktop or laptop. You would never think a table can cause you pain, right?

Obviously, I thought so too. Until I had wrist pain.

But the height of a computer desk is vital.

The dining table is too high. The coffee table is too low. The bar table is unsuitable because your feet would never touch the ground. Another important factor of a computer desk is the legroom space. Computer desks are designed to be wide and deep enough for adequate legroom and to house a computer device with its accessories, e.g., keyboards and mouse. And the bigger the leg room the better.

That’s why the industrial ideal height of a computer desk is between 72cm – 76cm for individuals under 6 feet tall. Unless you have a height-adjustable (sit-stand) or standing computer desk.

Whatever you choose, a computer desk is an important item your home office needs to maintain a good working posture and prevent injury.

3.      Desktop Computer

‘Living the laptop life’ is a good cliché but not a healthy one.

Laptops are adequate for when you are on the go. But not for everyday use to work from home. I’m sure you know this by now but laptops make you adopt an awkward posture.

In other words, your head bends downward, your back slouches and your chin sticks out. Concurrently, with the laptop, you need to both see the screen and use the keyboard. These postures put excessive pressure on the spine and increase your risk of injury.

A desktop computer, on the other hand, has a bigger screen and can be placed at eye level. Subsequently, reducing your risk of eye strain. It also allows you to use a separate keyboard and mouse. Therefore, making it easier to adjustments that promote good working posture.

If you intend to use a laptop, firstly, use it with a separate keyboard and mouse. Secondly, raise your screen so the first line on the screen is about eye level (well! until you get a separate monitor).

4.      Keyboard

You need a stand-alone keyboard. One that’s not attached to a computer screen like on a laptop. So that you can manoeuvre it to suit you and keep you in a neutral position.

There’s nothing wrong with the keyboard attached to laptops. Sometimes, they are better sculpted than a stand-alone keyboard. But the problem is that as it’s attached to the screen, you have no choice but to bend your neck to also see the screen.

If you place the screen at eye level, the keyboard would then be too high to work from. As a consequence, you’ll be compromising your wrist.

The only solution to prevent these neck and wrist compromises is to separate the screen from the keyboard. As such, a stand-alone keyboard is your best option and a must-have item for your home office need.

5.      Computer Mouse

If you are going to use a stand-alone keyboard, you also need a stand-alone computer mouse. Unlike the well-sculpted keyboard on a laptop, you only have a touchpad to scroll and click. To be able to use the touchpad, you’ll have to bend your hand sideways. Sideway bending is one of the awkward postures that cause work-related musculoskeletal injuries.

Using the right shape and size eliminates awkward posture as it keeps your hand in a neutral position. Know this, if the mouse is too big for your palms, it would place your hand in an awkward position too.

Likewise, if you click a lot on the mouse, a vertical mouse might be the best option for you as it places your wrist in a neutral position and prevents pinching.

Investing in a mouse is a  must-have item that your home office needs to reduce your risk of wrist and elbow injury. While you are at it, a wireless mouse is a preferred option so you’re not restricted by the cable to move it in any direction.


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6.      Task Lamp

If you are like me that usually works at night or when the sun has gone down. You would need a task lamp to lighten up your work area. However, if you’re working directly from your computer, you might not need it as it has a backlight. But, if you intend to read or write from a paper document or use any other equipment without a backlit, then a task lamp would help you see better.  And prevent you from straining your eyes.

Likewise, if you work in a windowless or low-lighting area, a task lamp illuminates your workspace and that does reduce awkward neck posture.

7.      Storage

I’m sure you know what and why you need storage. It would declutter your work surface. You can safely store away items and documents for later use. Avoid storage that can be tucked under your computer desk if it would drastically reduce your legroom. Remember, you need room to stretch out.

8.      Natural Lighting

OK! I get it. Every working nook (workspace) is different. And sometimes you might not be fortunate to be close to a window. But if you can, find a nook near your window. It brings in natural light. And you know! there is something warm and zen about looking out from a window. With the warmth of the sun illuminating your working space.

9.      Inspiration Wall

It goes without saying that you need to hang up pictures, your mantra, motivation, quotes, and a planner on your wall. Surround yourself with the art and things that you love, e.g., family, travel, and abstract. Understandably, you need this wall to keep you motivated, sane and focused on the things that matter.

The fact is, you could never have a wall like that in your office.  You just couldn’t. But you can now. That’s the joy of working from home. So, go wild and personalise your working space.

10. Pair of Slippers

I can’t reiterate enough how important slippers are when working from home.  Ditch your heels or shoes. But don’t leave your feet exposed. Let them be serenaded in the warm intimate pair of slippers. That being said, it’s a must-have item your home office needs.

11. A Hydrating Bottle

It could be anything. I love my super-size mug. I regularly drink tea, water, and coffee from it.  You can also go healthier with water juice or smoothies. You need to keep hydrated. It’s recommended you drink at least 8 litres of water a day. And if you are fortunate enough to live in cold regions (like me), then you know it makes you use the toilet regularly, thereby, flushing your body and kidneys of waste.

What are the items your home office need that you already have?

Of course, there are many other items you would like to have in your home office/space. But these items play a significant role in reducing your risk of injury.

So tell me, what do you have in your workspace? Are there items that need replacements or are you missing some?

Remember this ‘rule of thumb‘:

“Your workspace should be designed to fit you. And not you trying to fit into your workspace.”

Ugo is a Workplace Musculoskeletal Health Expert. She is a Chartered Physiotherapist with a master's degree in Ergonomics. 20 years of experience. Treated thousands of patients and workers. Conducted numerous work assessments across many industries. Worked with companies including BP, and UKPN. On a mission to help you work from home pain-free and reduce your risk of developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD).

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