Picture this: you’re sitting there at 10:30 am on a Wednesday at your dining room table, strewn with children’s toys, and last week’s mail gently pushed out of the way to create a workspace for your laptop. You say to yourself, “Self, I’m going to crush productivity today.” Five minutes later, you’re Googling, “Where do gummy bears come from?” Sound familiar?
In March, you may have caught our blog about working from home (WFH) during the quarantine. We discussed some tips and tricks for those of you who found themselves in unfamiliar territory. Six months later, you’re more settled, but it’s still challenging to be productive every day without a boss randomly stopping by your desk or a specific start and stop time. Now is a great time to look at ways to make things more comfortable and improve productivity when you hit that midday work slump. We may not be returning to the office anytime soon, and telecommuting will likely continue for many, even after Covid-19 is gone. So, without further adieu, here is a list of five ways to boost your home office for comfort and productivity.
1. An Ergonomic Chair
Dining room chairs and sofas aren’t made to use for an 8-hour work-day since they don’t provide proper support for the back, legs, and arms. They also perpetuate bad posture and often place you at an uneven level with your monitor. On the other hand, a proper ergonomic chair is comfortable, provides the right amount of support for your lumbar area, and helps increase focus. Some studies have found that productivity increased by over 15%.
Other options for chairs include gaming chairs, which look not only cool but also often have more customizable options than office chairs, balance balls, and bar stools. Each of these enables better posture support than working from your sofa, and some of them even look pretty cool. That being said, the best option for long term comfort and posture support is still going to be a well-made ergonomics chair.
2. Frequent Movement
Another method to improve posture and productivity is regular movement. Stand up, stretch, and grab a drink of water every 20-60 minutes. Doing this will improve your blood circulation and oxygen flow. If you lack the focus or self-discipline to incorporate this into your routine, use a smart assistant to remind you until you get into the habit.
3. Smart Assistant
You may work remotely, but that doesn’t have to mean you are alone. The kids don’t count unless they’re acting as your assistant. Since they’re probably not, you can use a smart assistant, such as Alexa or Google Home instead. Have the device remind you of meetings, add calendar entries, create To-Do lists, and they can even do some fact-finding. You can even try asking what you should be for Halloween.
Some people are distracted by music, but many people find it boosts their productivity and creativity. If you haven’t tried music, use that smart assistant or another device, and play or create a playlist centered on productivity. Some work well with jazz while others like instrumentals, coffee house music, or current hits. Find what works for you, and you will be amazed at how it impacts your “work environment.”
5. Desk Set-Up With Monitor
If you WFH long enough, consider investing in the proper desk set-up. Adjustable desks are great because they allow for flexibility. You can sit half the day and work standing the other half. Adjustable desks transition to the height that’s right for you. While adjustable desks help with comfort, dual monitors increase productivity by providing more screen real estate, limiting clicks, and decreasing eye strain.
Speaking of eye strain, blue blocking sunglasses aren’t the most stylish, but they can help protect your eyes from pervasive screen time. Change your screen brightness to a nighttime setting and look away from your monitor on occasion. You can also incorporate this break into the movement break.
WFH has its pros and cons. Implement as many of these tips as possible and give it two weeks, then let us know how things are going. For now, though, back to work!
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