Over the last three months many of us have found ourselves working from home, whether or not it was by choice. Some folks have utilized their dining room table, coffee table, night table and even their laps as a makeshift desk, making for a very uncomfortable workspace. As businesses begin to reopen, many employees have found that their new normal still incorporates some sort of “work from home” time.

With this change in workspace, more and more people are opting to set aside space for a home office – a place where function meets comfort and where productivity is the ultimate goalNot everyone may have an extra room to set aside for an office space, so it may require a compromise of your existing space, like a corner of a living room, part of a basement or attic, or an area of your bedroom.  Whatever the situation, there are options to make the best use of your work space.

Here are some great tips and best practices to make the transition more manageable:

Create your home base – you need to set aside a dedicated space for business, which provides adequate room, lighting and comfort. It doesn’t have to be a separate room, but it should be a space that offers some quiet, privacy and the ability to separate work from personal space.  It should also provide comfort and adequate natural light, or at least a space where overhead or task lighting can be added.

Consider what technology you will need – do you need a laptop, desktop computer, printer or shredder? Do you need to connect a business phone line, networking cables or install new outlets? These things should be considered before selecting the space to make sure all your needs of your home office are met.

Selection of furniture – the most efficient way to work is with a properly sized desk and supportive chair.  The right chair can mean the difference between chronic back and leg pain, and comfort.  Don’t use a wooden chair and place a cushion on it. Make the investment in a chair that you can sit on for long periods of time, that offers proper back, neck and leg support. Select a desk that is the right height and offers convenience, whether that means a desk drawer to store pens, chargers and other office supplies, or adequate room to place storage drawers or cabinets.

If your work includes a lot of paperwork, bills and files that need to be readily accessible, consider adding a file cabinet or placing a hutch above your desk to keep those items tidy and your office supplies organized.  If on a budget, consider utilizing some inexpensive floating shelves to store your office wares and files and some decorative bins.

Before purchasing your office furniture, consider laying out the space first to allow for enough room to move around. You can use a site like floorplanner.com to create the optimal space.  Also remember to make your office your own.  Decorate it with some color, and utilize the space to maximize your own efficiency and style.  Consider adding a cork board or white board to track projects and activities. Or add some personalized desk organizers to make your work at home experience the best it can be.

Once your office is set up, remember some good work habits. Place your computer monitor at eye level.  This will prevent a stiff neck. Monitor arms are a great way to adjust your screen to the proper height, but there is nothing wrong with using a box or a few books to elevate your screen to the right position. If you use a laptop, consider connecting a separate monitor to accommodate a more convenient height or place your laptop on an adjustable stand.

Remember your posture.  When sitting, you should maintain a neutral posture.  Relax your shoulders and rest your arms comfortably at your side to reduce neck and shoulder strain.  Reduce lower back discomfort by sitting all the way back into your chair.  If you do not have a lumbar support, use a rolled-up towel behind your lower back. Also, make sure your feet are flat on the floor.  Depending on the height of your chair, you may find it more comfortable to use a footrest to ease stress on your lower back.

Take time during your day for some self-care.  Whether it is a walk around the block, some light yoga or just some stretching exercises, your body will be grateful for the increased circulation and your mind will be grateful for the break.

Stay hydrated throughout the day.  Keep a large tumbler of water on your desk and remember to drink.  When working from home we sometimes get caught up and forget to take care of ourselves and our bodies.

Sonny Golden, President  –  Golden Key Interiors

(718) 761-2366   [email protected]