Even if you’ve been working remotely for a while, some of these tips may be things you’ve never even considered – but they’re worth thinking about, especially if it means you can get more out of your workday or improve your mood.
Perhaps one of the most obvious places to start is being physically comfortable when working. However, be aware that short-term physical comfort doesn’t relate to long-term productivity, and could even lead to problems. A soft, squashy armchair might be comfortable for a few hours, but it’s not really advisable to work from there – bad seating can lead to musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck, leg or shoulder pain. Posture can even also affect conditions such as RSI (repetitive strain injury) or carpal tunnel syndrome, so it’s important to make sure you’re sitting correctly. Back pain alone accounts for 12 million lost work days every year, and is one of the most common complaints.
A decent desk and a chair are wise investments if you’ll be working from home for longer periods – although some people have been using their dining table and chairs as a substitute. Many office chairs are ergonomically designed and adjustable, although some are better than others. If your place of work doesn’t offer to help kit you out with equipment, it’s wise to read reviews and take measurements if possible, and work with a budget in mind. Mesh-back chairs that have lumbar support are popular at the moment for exactly this reason – they are mostly inexpensive.
Other items such as a wrist rest for the keyboard and mouse, a monitor riser to reduce neck strain and a foot rest are often recommended, especially where someone is spending many hours per day sitting. It’s also possible to get a desk that can adjust to be a standing desk – some people have noted the health benefits of being able to work while standing up, such as less joint pain or less muscular issues and improved muscle tone. Coccyx cushions and firmer lumbar supports are also available quite inexpensively, and may help to alleviate back pain caused by bad posture for long periods.
While some of these may not apply to everyone, taking a moment or two to assess how your physical comfort is at a few times during the day may help you to make subtle changes that can keep you focused and productive.