Working from home is not going away anytime soon.

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who happen to have a dedicated home office, juggling a decent space to work can be somewhat of a challenge. So, wherever you’re set up, be it your bedroom, a home office, or the kitchen table, you’d better get comfortable there and make it the best you can.

Here are our quick fixes to make sure you’re comfortable and your working habitat more hospitable:

  1. Be mindful of your working area. We might not all be able to have ergonomically tested workstations right now, so basic actions to ensure you’re not creating a painful situation are a must. Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves, add a cushion if you need, and adjust your desk height to make sure your wrist is able to be straight and your hands are at, or just below elbow level. If you’re getting sore forearms from resting on the desk as you type, try putting a towel or something soft to pad it out a bit. Your monitor should be about an arm’s length away with the top of the screen at, or slightly below eye level. If it’s more comfortable, raise your feet onto a footrest (some sturdy books might do the job) and use a headset instead of wedging your phone between your ear and your shoulder, or maybe if it’s quiet enough, put your phone on speaker instead.  
  2. Alternate your ‘sitting down space’ with a ‘standing up space’. Use your kitchen worktop as a stand-up desk, especially if you’re finding it hard going sitting down.
  3. Stick on the radio. Some of us work better to music, or a bit of background noise, and if you’re used to a busy office, it’s probably going to be odd to be working in the quiet. As long as you can turn it down quickly if the phone rings, it’s all positive. We can’t do this in most offices, so you might as well do it at home and make the most of the fact you’ve not got colleagues around you (who might not be as big a fan of Metallica at high volume like you are!)
  4. Communicate your expectations. Let other people in your home know where you’ll be working and communicate to them the ‘rules’ of you working – when you’re ok to be disturbed/when you’re not for example. We can’t magically silence the dog when the doorbell rings, but try and work out scenarios that might cause blips in your working environment. Do you need a sign on the front door for any deliveries?  
  5. Move…Make time for exercise. Whilst you are sat down be very mindful of your posture. Stretch, take a walk or do something physical you enjoy to break sitting down and get your body moving in a different way. Take advantage of the fact you’re not in an office. Apparently sitting is the new smoking when it comes to our health,  according to the Mayo Clinic, and research has shown that sitting for long periods of time is linked with health concerns ranging from high blood pressure and obesity to a higher risk of death from heart disease and cancer. Take advantage of the fact you’re not in the office, you can access thousands of free online exercise videos from home to counteract desk working. You’re not limited to just a quick desk stretch! And if all else fails, and you still find yourself hunching over your computer, stick a plaster or some kind of tape between your shoulder blades. It sounds crazy, but when you hunch over, you’ll feel it tighten and remind you to sit up properly!

And finally, …

  • Work on. Work off. The lines are more blurred now when it comes to balance as work IS at home for most of us. Make sure you take regular breaks, lunch and finish your day. Don’t be tempted to keep checking emails. Keep it separate and enjoy the time you’ve saved not commuting to do something different that you find enriching and that adds value to your life.

Written by Leightontaylor
27th July, 2020