By now, many of us have been working at home for a while. While some of us already had designated setups for getting work done away from the office, or even a workspace for full- or part-time commitments, others have had to quickly get a makeshift office going on the dining room table, or in a corner of the bedroom, or at a task desk in the kitchen. How is that going?
If you’re experiencing fatigue, eye strain, wrist aches, back pain, or neck kinks, it might be time to take a closer look at that quickly set-up office. Your setup might be hampering your productivity. Lisa Peck, interior designer and founder of LiLu Interiors, has been diligent about her blog posts about designing, setting up, and working in a home office.
In her post on home office design, Peck described how to find a spot in your home for an office and how to accommodate basic needs into that office. She also included images on proper alignment of screen and chair, and elbows and wrists, to maximize productivity. “You want to make sure you have a setup that works for you, whether you’re working inside or are setting up something temporary on your balcony or patio,” she says during a phone interview. “You want to refrain from putting strain on your body.”
Your eyes should be level with the top line of your screen, she advises, your wrists in a neutral straight position, and your elbows open 90-110 degrees. You back should be straight and your feet on the floor. (Put a book under your feet, she says, if they don’t sit flat on the floor.)
To further maximize your productivity and keep your body relaxed, take regular breaks. Get outside for a walk, “as being in touch with nature raises your mood and clears your mind,” she says. Consider painting a wall with a yellow, orange, or red tone, or purchasing an uplifting piece of artwork with those colors, “as it will energize you.”
Accessorize your workspace with objects meaningful for you, whether objects from a trip or photos of your family or pets. “I use a pencil cup that one of my kids made,” Peck says. “It’s not sophisticated, but it makes me happy.” If you have space, fit a chair into your workspace for taking a phone call or reading. “A secondary destination in the office gives you variation in the workday and your work environment,” she says.
“I keep my yoga mat nearby for stretching and moving my body,” Peck says. “Productivity studies show that if you move to a different spot and do some stretching, you’ll be more productive when you return to your desk.”