When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck, working from home felt like a “make-do” situation while the world waited for the crisis to subside. However, as it has become increasingly clear that the pandemic could be with us well into next year, WFH has turned into a way of life.
That’s why the makeshift home office you probably cobbled together earlier this year might no longer suffice. Here’s how you can readjust it to make it much easier to use for the long haul.
Use a dedicated space for your home office
Ideally, you want a space that feels somewhat separate and closed off from the rest of the house. That way, you can somewhat replicate the “going to work” feeling of walking into a traditional office – and keep productivity-hampering distractions from other members of the household at bay.
A guest room, enclosed porch, large laundry room or garden shed can all make good candidates for your home office, as can a loft for which Instaloft could fit an entry ladder to ease access.
Position your computer screen at the right height
What exactly would be the “right” height? Computerworld’s Galen Gruman says it would be where your eyes are 25% to 30% below the top of your computer display. In ensuring this, you can reduce your injury risk by keeping your shoulders level and preventing your back from hunching.
Of course, that’s going to be easier with a large external monitor than with a laptop – but, if you are limited to the latter, CNBC suggests you put it on top of stacked objects like books or shoeboxes.
Carefully consider what other equipment you could need
If your display is an external monitor, you will likely need a keyboard and a mouse or touchpad for ergonomics’ sake, as your laptop could be positioned in a way that leaves its built-in keyboard and trackpad awkward to reach.
If you will be engaging in online conference calls, you should consider using a headset, too, to prevent noises on those calls leaking into your home and inconveniencing other people living there.
Use a dedicated office chair
Seating like dining chairs and deckchairs wasn’t originally designed for work use – so, not too surprisingly, it won’t often leave users sitting at the right height or necessarily adhering to good posture. That’s why you should invest in a professional office chair if your budget allows.
You should seek such a chair that can be adjusted in height and, ideally, in seat pan tilt, arm height and lateral arm position. Your chosen chair should also provide lumbar support for the lower back.
Let there be the right kind of light
When endeavoring to illuminate your workspace in a way that lets you easily read documents and see other physical objects, you should make sure you have enough indirect lighting.
This is lighting that is neither in your direct field of view nor reflecting off your monitor. You know you would be going wrong if you see glare on your computer screen.