How to set up your home workstation

Apr 1

This month, like the rest of the country, 101 Collins’ tenants have found themselves increasingly working from home – rapidly transforming the way we do business. 

While we all transition to this new-found way of working, Ashleigh Brennan, Head Personal Trainer and Exercise Physiologist at RISE by Studio PP, says setting up your home workspace to support proper ergonomic function is the most critical aspect of an effective home-office. 

We spoke to Ashleigh about her recommended tips to make sure your home-office is set up to support a proper posture and negate any short- or long-term issues issues along the way. 

Chair Set Up

Setting up your office chair correctly is imperative to supporting your neck, back and shoulders while working at a desk for long periods of time. Ask yourself these questions when sitting at your home office desk, to assess whether your current environment is ergonomically supportive: 

  • Can the height, seat and back of the chair be adjusted to achieve the posture below?


  • Are your feet fully supported by the floor when seated?
  • Does your chair provide support for your lower back?
  • When your back is fully supported, are you able to sit without feeling pressure from the chair on the back of your knees?
  • Do your armrests allow you to sit closely to your workstation?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above questions, it’s time to invest in an appropriate and adjustable office chair for your temporary home office.

Ultimately when sitting, your buttocks should be pushed to the very back of your office chair (as far as you can go), prompting a slight natural curve in your lower back. When sitting upright, your shoulders should be set back and relaxed, with your tailbone slightly curved under your body. Your spine should never be completely straight. 

In this position, you should still be able to keep your feet firmly on the floor or alternatively, on an elevated footrest. If you cannot reach the ground, the height of your chair will need to be adjusted.

Computer & Workstation

  • Are your keyboard, mouse and work surface at elbow height?
  • Are frequently used items within easy reach?
  • Is the keyboard close to the front edge of the desk allowing your wrists to rest on the desk surface?
  • When using the keyboard, are your wrists in a neutral position and your upper arms relaxed? 
  • Is the mouse comfortable to use and in proximity to your keyboard?
  • Is your work monitor positioned directly in front of you?
  • Is your monitor positioned at least an arm’s length away from you?
  • Is your monitor height slightly below eye level?
  • Is there a sloped desk surface or angle board for reading or writing tasks?

Just as important as your office chair, your computer, mouse and keyboard should support your posture and general health while working from home.

When adjusting your monitor or laptop screen, the top of the screen should be set at eye level (or lower) to reduce visual fatigue and neck strain. This can be achieved by manipulating the monitor stand, or alternatively if you’re working from a laptop, propping it up on top of a laptop stand and/or some thick books.

Your screen should be positioned approximately one arm’s length (or slightly further) away from you and should be set at an angle where the neck is not arched and the chin does not extend forwards. If using multiple screens, place the primary monitor straight ahead to avoid twisting the body or neck to one side to view the display. Similarly, move your chair when switching between monitors to avoid bending or twisting to see the displays.

Lights & Sound Impact

  • Do you have appropriate light for reading or writing documents?
  • Is your monitor and workstation clear from glare?
  • Are you using a headset or speaker phone if taking notes while on the phone?

Good lighting will allow you to view your screen and documents easily, without slipping into awkward postures or straining your eyes from glare, shadowing or reflections. This is an important aspect of your home office environment to monitor, as it is constantly changing. 

Make sure you continue to check your lighting levels throughout the day. Higher lighting levels are required for writing and reading tasks, particularly more detailed work, whereas lower lighting levels are may be suitable for tasks that are predominantly computer based. It’s also worth investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help muffle regular household noises, or alternatively replicate office ‘buzz’ by playing music or the radio on a low volume.

Scheduled Breaks

  • Do you take breaks every 30 minutes? 

Taking scheduled breaks not only keeps your mind fresh, but also helps keep your schedule as ‘normal’ as possible. If you usually exercise at lunchtime, set aside time to complete a virtual workout at home to de-stress, increase your motivation, and increase your optimism. 

As the lines between work and home are blurred, it’s important to know when to clock off. Wake up, have lunch, start and end your day at the same time as you usually would. Change out of your work clothes and find physical cues that will help you to shift from work mode to home mode. 

If you aren’t able to achieve the above recommendations within your home office, we encourage you to book one of our fifteen minute, one-on-one consultations with Ashleigh, where she can optimise your at-home workstation to ensure you are maintaining a safe, productive work environment.

To book in with Ashleigh, please contact our studio manager Carmen via phone on 0436 417 687  or email at rise@101collins.com.au.

Click here to view Ash Brennan’s online profile.

RISE by Studio PP continue to offer virtual fitness classes to 101 Collins’ customers. Click here to view online class passes and membership options.

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