For example, sitting for extended periods of time comes with health impacts that we always try and mitigate when designing offices. Whilst not everyone will be able to have a designated workspace at home (and we’re certainly not expecting you to hire your own space planning expert or invest in the latest ergonomic desk chair) it is important to think about some of the basics that will keep you comfortable.
Within offices, there is a lot of focus on ergonomics and occupational health. This doesn’t stop just because you are working from home. In fact, wherever you are working, you are still covered by the various workplace health and safety laws and ideally your employer should be helping you set yourself up to work in a safe and ergonomic manner. However, these are unprecedented times and we must do what we can with what is available. So some key things to think about are:
- Your posture. If you are having to work on a laptop when you are used to monitors on a desk in the office you will have a tendency to hunch. Ideally try to hook up your laptop to a screen (do you have a spare small tv with an HDMI socket?) but if none is available then be aware of your posture, regularly reposition yourself and push you shoulders back and take break – get up and move around at least once an hour.
- Your chair. It might be tempting to working curled up your sofa (or even the sun lounger if the weather improves) but this is not good for your posture. Its ok for a short while (and can be useful to vary your routine and posture) but a good chair is still the best place. Try to sit upright with your back supported (perhaps a cushion if your chair is hard)
- Lighting – again in your office it will have probably been designed to minimise glare and make your screen easy to read without eyestrain – this may not be the case at home. Try to position yourself near a good light source that is not reflecting off your screen. Natural light is great, but obviously will shift around during the day, so re- position yourself if necessary.
- Hydration – make sure you keep hydrated and have a water bottle or glass of water nearby
- Safety – working at the kitchen table might be a solution but be aware of your power lead. No doubt it is trailing behind you to a worktop. How safe is this, be aware that it could be a trip hazard for you and your family.