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How to tune up a home office when you don’t have one

March 1, 2021

While “under a blanket on a cold winter day” isn’t the worst place to work, it’s a good idea to regularly assess your remote working environment—especially if you don’t have a full home office setup—to decide if anything needs an adjustment or upgrade. Here are four important points to consider:

  1. Desk—Instead of working at the dining room table or on the couch, is there a corner of your home that can accommodate a small desk? Furniture makers have stepped up to offer compact foldable or easy-to-disassemble desks that let you reclaim your space on the weekends.

  2. Seating—A dining room chair is meant to be comfortable for an hour, not a full workday. Ditto for the couch or your bed. Is it time to upgrade to a “real” office chair? If you don’t have room for an office-style chair, consider a lumbar pillow to add back support to the seat you use now. Or add a standing desk converter that you can set on a tabletop to give yourself standing breaks during the day.

  3. Computer setup—How far do you have to crane your neck to see your laptop screen? Do you constantly zoom in to read text on the monitor? Do you have all the monitors you need? A laptop stand and monitor riser will elevate your screens so they’re level with your eyes, give you more screen real estate, and save you a (literal) headache and painful neck strain. And don’t forget the external keyboard to save those wrists and hands.

  4. Lighting—Have you escaped the harsh glare of office fluorescents only to squint in a dim corner at home? Lighting is one of the most important factors for a comfortable workspace. While natural light is best, if that’s not an option, look for ways to diffuse lamp light. Choose floor lamps that shine upward, use lampshades to soften bulb harshness, and experiment with placement to avoid casting shadows or workspace glare.

Check with your employer to see if the company will pay for equipment upgrades. If that’s not possible, it’s still a good idea to consider making these changes because they’re not only good for you physically but could also be for others in your family who are working from home.

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