How to ensure you work comfortably (and safely) from home

With Covid-19, many of us have suddenly made the jump to working from home. Unlike our offices, though, the setup at home isn’t exactly prepped for maximum comfort. When working from home, you must have a comfortable setup that helps you work, but that also ensures you’re not straining parts of your body. So, how can you make sure you bring your office home successfully?

Create a home office

First things first; it’s important to make sure that you’ve got somewhere comfortable to work that’s away from all the distractions of being at home. When you’re working from home, chores like the laundry and the dishes can become huge distractions – and if you’re working while your family is at home, peace and quiet while you work in the family room might be out of the question. Invest in office furniture like a desk, letter board, printer and ergonomic chair and set it up in a spare bedroom or in a corner of a room that will become your office throughout the day.

Spend some time setting up your office with everything that you need, so you can focus on work effectively.

Stick to your work schedule

Without a workplace to go to in the morning and come home from at night, it can be all too easy to find yourself working after hours. After all, it’s there, so you might as well get it done! But this can lead to burnout and exhaustion, so try and stick to your normal working hours and avoid the temptation of doing extra in the evening just because it’s there. Having an office space at home can help with this, since you have somewhere to go in the morning and leave at the end of the day – even if you’re just walking out of the room.

Avoid sleep problems

You might be excited that you don’t have to wake up as early as normal when working from home, but be careful to avoid falling into sleep problems. Try to stick to your normal sleep routine as much as possible. Instead of a lie-in, you can use the extra time in the morning to exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, or read.

Take a seat

One of the first things to consider is the way you are sitting. Having a comfortable chair is hugely important when working at a desk. Your chair should help good posture, so including a lower back pillow can help improve lumbar support. Take a look at the Comfy Sack range that shapes to your body to give yourself a break.

Where to put your computer?

You may never have even considered the position of your laptop in your workplace, but at home, it’s very important. The screen of the laptop should be level or slightly lower than your eye line so that you do not strain. The monitor should also be an arm’s length away so that you do not end up straining your eyes when looking at it for extended periods.

Being neutral

You also need to consider your arms, wrists, and neck when working from home. For instance, the table should be high enough to keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Your wrists should be kept stable (you can use a towel under them) and using a mouse instead of the touchpad can help reduce the likelihood of repetitive strain on these joints.

Break time

While taking extra breaks is often frowned on in the workplace, at home, it’s to be encouraged. You’re never going to get the same ergonomic efficiency at home, so make sure you give yourself a break from the more awkward position you’re in. On top of that, it’s good to look away from the screen regularly performing the 20-20-20 rule to give your eyes a break too.

Stretch it out

During these important breaks, you should also be taking the time to stretch. Your body is not going to be used to sitting for long periods in your makeshift office so that stretching can help. Make sure you get those kinks out. Incorporating short periods of exercise throughout the day will help your work longer as well as promote your overall health at the same time.

Stay hydrated

Without the water dispensers that you’d normally be able to use in the office, it’s easy to end up dehydrated when working from home – especially if you’re not set up in the kitchen. A reusable water bottle on your desk is a great idea – you can fill it up at the beginning of the day and make sure that it’s there to take sips of water from throughout the working day to avoid dehydration.

Stay social

Along with the potential to impact your physical health without the right equipment, working from home can also take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing. It can be difficult to go from spending every day working at the office alongside colleagues to being on your own working from home. It’s important to make an effort to stay social with your colleagues; using workplace chat facilities like Slack or creating a WhatsApp group allows you to socialize throughout the day as normal and avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Are there other hazards?

Finally, to maintain a truly comfortable and safe working environment at home, you need to see if there are any other hazards. You may not consider some things hazardous in your normal day-to-day life, but in an office, they can be a problem. For instance, you will need to make sure the area is tidy, organized, and clutter-free to prevent tripping.

You should also ensure that the lighting is efficient in the area you are working in to reduce eyestrain further and even to prevent glare on the screens. Making sure you have a quiet workplace that’s not too noisy and gives you some privacy is also essential to a comfortable work environment. Incorporate these into your daily remote working, and you’ll find improved productivity as well as comfort.

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