By now most companies that remain open have their employees working from home because of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders that come with it. Although a lot of companies already had a remote work option for their employees in place, most companies are new to this and have had to make some changes. People have gone from working at their normal office to working at home. If you are new to the concept of working from home, check out these tips on how to improve your at-home workspace in order to stay productive.
Find the Right Location
If you already have a home office, great, you can skip this step. If you don’t, then you need to find a place you can call your “office” indefinitely, since we don’t know how long the stay-at-home orders will last. If you do not live alone, it is important to find a place where you can shut the door and have some privacy, especially for conference calls or Zoom meetings.
It is often recommended to sit by a window when working. This is because light regulates substances such as melatonin and serotonin in the brain, affecting wakefulness and mood. A good home workspace allows plenty of natural light in, without glaring up your computer screen. Consider how you can arrange your workspace to get the most natural light without getting it directly on your screen.
Position Your Monitor the Right Way
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 90% of adults experience back pain at some point in their life, and 50% of the working population has back pain every year in the US. Not having a proper sitting posture can affect your health, mood, and consequently your work productivity. Since you will spend most of your day in front of your computer, it is important to position your monitor the right way. Ideally, the top of your monitor should be at eye-level when you are looking directly forward. If necessary, use a monitor riser, or try setting it on top of a stack of books to get the height right. Distance the monitor around 45 to 60 centimeters away from your body and ensure that your monitor is placed directly in front of the body to avoid twisting.
Get a Plant
If you are able to set up your workspace by a window, then hopefully you can see some nature. If you live in a city, though, you’ll want to get some plants. Plants are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they can improve the air quality in your workspace. Potted plants add color and interest to a workspace. By putting a little outside environment inside in the form of plants, there is a chance you will feel less constrained and can relax a bit more.
Turn on the Music
I’m the kind of person that needs some sort of background noise in order to get things done. As I am writing this blog, I have Golden Girls playing softly on the TV behind me. I don’t need to be watching it, or even paying attention to what they are saying, but the sound makes it feel like there are other people in the room with me. After working from home for almost 8 weeks, I am missing my coworkers!
If the TV is too much of a distraction for you, then try listening to music. Have specific playlists for different kinds of work and concentration levels. If you are not sure what kind of music to listen to, check out Spotify, they have a ton of playlists dedicated to people working from home!
Getting the most out of your workspace requires experimentation and a dash of creativity, but it makes a big difference. Make sure you find the perfect location, position your monitor the right way, get some plants, and get some background noise going!
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