Over the last 10 years, the workforce in the US has become increasingly more remote. With technology improvements as well as employers acknowledging their employees are more productive in their own environment the corporate landscape has started to shift dramatically. What was a gradual shift, however, became a drastic one in March and April of 2020, as many companies were forced to either close their doors completely or quickly adapt and figure out how to keep their teams working in a virtual format. Within a few weeks, thousands of employees were trying to come up with a home office set-up that would allow them to continue working. We are going to look at a few ways you can create the best possible home office that improves productivity as well as mitigates neck pain, back pain, and eye fatigue.
Invest in quality equipment
Working from home will be much more comfortable if you have quality equipment that is allowing you to do your best work. Distractions like a wifi router needing to be reset several times a day, a printer that is always displaying error messages, or a computer that is slow and unreliable are all going to seriously affect your productivity. Depending on your line of work, take the time to figure out what equipment you can’t do your job without and develop a list of what you would like to upgrade or replace. Only include equipment that you will use often, as excess equipment will only make your home office or workspace more cluttered.
Look at your computer with a level neck
Nothing will cause unnecessary neck and back pain faster than looking down and your computer screen and bending your neck at an odd angle. When you are constantly looking down, your body's natural instinct will be to curl and hunch over. To counteract this natural effect, you can either purchase something adjustable to put your laptop on, or put it on top of a box or several books. The most important thing to remember is that your neck, shoulders, and back should be straight and level when you look at your computer screen.
Ensure your chair is comfortable
If you don’t have some type of home office already set up, then you likely don’t have an adjustable computer chair. You can get by with a dining chair, but make sure to use a few pillows to ensure your back is properly supported. Dining chairs are usually hardwood and are not designed to be sat in for long periods of time. If you have the means, an adjustable computer chair will do wonders for your day to day comfort and long term back health.
Get up often and stretch
When you work in an office, the structure of breaks and the natural rhythm of the day is set by the coworkers around you. When you are working alone at home, it can be difficult to remember to take breaks, but they are so vital to you maintaining good habits while working from home. Once every hour, stand up and walk around the house as well as stretch to prevent soreness, stiffness, and eye fatigue.
Reduce eye strain as much as possible
This is a big one because eye strain causes headaches and tension in other parts of the body, which will not only affect your time working but also the rest of your day. Ways to prevent eye strain include working with your computer screen perpendicular to a window, turning down the brightness on your screen, taking breaks often, and using blue light filtering glasses.