Working from Home: how to set up your home workspace to benefit your productivity, health and minimise discomfort
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Whilst the home office is a reality for some, many of us have been making do with the kitchen table, coffee table or hunching over laptops on sofas and beds.
As the second wave of COVID-19 hits and the likelihood of returning to the office this year diminishes, it's a good time to reassess your working from home (WFH) set up to prevent long term health problems.
If you can sit at a desk or table, try to follow these ergonomic basics:
- Position a computer monitor that is at or slightly below eye level and an arm's length away
- Separate the keyboard from the monitor so you can get the monitor at the correct height (as above)
- Sit in a chair that supports your lower back
- Use a mouse (which is better for your wrist than a trackpad)
If you are working from your sofa or bed, consider investing in a lap desk. Lap desk start at £30 and if you're willing to pay a little more, some provide space for your mouse, a notebook or a drink. Most importantly they will encourage you to stay upright, support your wrists and make sure you don't hunch your shoulders while you work. Where ever you sit, NHS have this handy guide to doing it correctly: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly/
It’s a good idea to mix it up and not stay sitting for too long. Consider spending some of your day working standing up, an adjustable ironing board can be transformed into a desk at a height that's right for you!
Consider these other elements to optimise your productivity:
- What is the room temperature? Try and maintain an optimum room temperature of 21-24C. Too hot and you'll feel uncomfortable and sleepy, too cold and you'll lose dexterity in your fingers and become distracted.
- How's the lighting? Can you move closer to a window or move a table lamp closer to you?
- Keep regular hours, working when you're most productive and schedule breaks
If you're already experiencing muscle tension all is not lost! The NHS have also put together this guide to common posture mistakes alongside tips and exercises on how to alleviate the tension or pain: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/#cradling
Finally, it is important to keep your mental health in check too. Follow these tips from NHS Every Mind Matters to take care of your mental health and if you feel low or are struggling with feelings of isolation, there is support and advice available on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/7-simple-tips-to-tackle-working-from-home/