Thanks to the current global situation, many of us have had to work from home when we weren’t planning to, and are working in a less than ideal temporary workspace. If this is you, it is important that you create a workspace that is as comfortable as possible and is set up to protect you. The wrong set-up can cause problems including back and shoulder pain, and eye strain. Here’s how you can improve even a temporary workspace.
- A supportive chair. The chair you sit in is one of the most important parts of your workspace set-up. The right chair will give support to your back and posture, preventing back and shoulder pain. If you’re working sat at the kitchen table or on the sofa, it’s unlikely that you’re getting the right support. The best chair, even if you just use it at the dining table, will support your lower back, and should be the correct height so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees aren’t touching the top of the table.
- An ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic computer mouse. Using both of these will support your wrists probably as you work, protecting you from discomfort and strain. Put both at a comfortable distance for you. Even if you add an external keyboard and mouse to your laptop, and have to use them on the dining table, they can still help.
- Proper lighting. If you’re having to work from a temporary set-up, you can still improve the light. Your workspace needs to be lit correctly. A light that is too bright can give you headaches, whereas a light that is too dim will cause eye strain. Add a desk lamp to your workspace to protect your eyes and help you stay alert.
- A screen at the right height. Whether you’re using a laptop or a desktop computer, position your screen at the right height. Your screen ought to be at eye level, so you’re not angling your neck downwards and ending up in pain. You can lift your screen up a bit with a stand designed for this purpose, or with a thick book or two. If you’re using a laptop, use an external keyboard and mouse so you can still lift your screen up to the right height.
- Noise-cancelling headphones. If you can’t work from a room where you can close the door, working with noise from the rest of the house can be tough. Whether you share your home with noisy kids or loud roommates, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can help. Even if you don’t like to listen to music or a podcast as you work, you can wear your headphones to block out noise from your housemates. When you put them on, they can also function as a signal to the people that you live with that you are working and shouldn’t be disturbed.
With a few key pieces of equipment, you can make even a temporary home office more comfortable and safer for you.