Home Office
19 Mar

With the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us are finding ourselves working from home for the first time. I’ve read a lot of great posts about how to get the most of out of your office ergonomics to help prevent pain and discomfort, so I won’t be covering that all here again – instead, I’d like to talk about the things you can do in your home office (or as you might know it, your couch, dining table, kitchen island, or spare bedroom) to get the most out of your workday. 

Physical Ergonomics while working from home 

Lots of great tips are floating around the internet on how you should set up a home office, so I won’t spend much time doing that here. At the end of the day, many of us didn’t have much time to prepare for this big change in our working life – so the chances of running out to the store to grab a spare monitor and keyboard are pretty limited. 

That being said, do what you can to get yourself in a good posture – and if you can’t, moving around your home office can be a big help. Sitting on the couch with your laptop on your lap, and your neck constantly bent down is a recipe for neck pain – but if you mix that in with sitting at the kitchen table, standing at the counter, or other mixed postures – you can introduce the kind of movement that helps keep you comfortable.  

Distancing your Home Office from your living space 

This has its challenges for those of us working in apartments or smaller areas – but try to set up a work area or home office space in your house. When you work all day where you relax all night, it’s tough to get that mental distance between when your brain is “on” and you’re now trying to watch some Netflix. If you can’t do that physically, try to set up your schedule where you get dressed into working clothes for your work day, and change into your more casual attire once you’ve finished your job. 

Give yourself a break 

Take a break
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels

We have entered a time that none of us have ever been prepared for – the world is changing at a pace we have never seen, and there’s news coming out every 15 minutes that shakes your core. Give yourself a chance to adapt to the new normal and don’t beat yourself up over writing less words per minute, making fewer connections with prospects, or making a mistake in your spreadsheet. You need to give yourself the mental space to adjust and berating yourself (or your co-workers) won’t help. We’re all in this together, and it starts with taking care of yourself! 

Now when it comes to taking a break, a change of scenery can help you mentally and physically. Instead of checking the latest news sites, go for a short walk, take a stretch break, or get some exercise.  Get out of that home office and refresh your mind.

Rely on the tools at your disposal 

Both Android and iOS operating systems have tools for managing your working hours to minimize distractions when your day is done. Using these will help you disconnect and allow you to manage stress levels better.  

None of this is gospel, and much like anyone reading this – we’re all trying to figure things out as we go! Take care of yourself, help those who need help, and we’ll be back to gathering around the water cooler in no time. 

 Learn more about office ergonomics in my earlier article here.

Dr. Michael Sonne, PhD, CCPE
Dr. Michael Sonne, PhD, CCPE

Mike is the creator of the Rapid Office Strain Assessment, or ROSA, which is being taught at numerous universities around the globe.