Among the many challenges we are all facing these days, workspace problems may seem minor. However, if you cannot work effectively, then it will affect not only you, but also the people you work with, including colleagues, clients, and vendors. Since I have an "essential business," I admit that I am going into my work office at times by myself because the office is empty, there are no distractions, and I have a real desk and chair. While I have the technology to work from home, the rest of the environment is not always ideal, if you catch my drift.
I recently saw an article from PC Magazine with tips on setting up an ergonomic office. How many of us who did not regularly work from home before COVID-19 are now working at the dining room table because we don’t have a designated office space or someone else in the family is using it?
The dining room table also is not very private. Even if you have an office door you can close, you may still be dealing with family and other interruptions during the day. Creating physical boundaries and family rules are important to maintain productivity when you are sharing space with others.
Another issue are the ubiquitous Zoom calls. While they are wonderful in many ways, how many of us are feeling strange about having people see us in our home, particularly if we don’t have a designated office space? Zoom offers virtual backgrounds, but they can have their own issues.
Some issues that are important to me, whether in the office or at home:
- Consider an ergonomic chair with proper neck and lumbar support. If cost is an issue, get a lumbar support pad.
- Set your phone or smart watch to remind you to stand up at least every 90 minutes. Scientists now say that sitting is the new smoking.
- Don’t work in or on a bed. Your back and neck will thank you for not doing that.
- Having two computer monitors makes life easier, especially if you are making presentations during a web meeting. If you don’t have (or have desk space for) two monitors, programs like Duet Display can turn your iPad, Android tablet or phone into a second monitor.
- Use quality headphones and a microphone, not the computer mic or speaker. It enhances your listening and prevents inadvertent shouting or family eavesdropping.
- Staring at computer screens and devices for too long can cause eye strain or headaches. Consider an inexpensive pair of Gaming Glasses to cut the glare.
Eventually, we’ll all find ways to adapt. To help with that, my goal is to encourage us to share tips with each other since we are all experiencing many of the same issues. If you have ideas to share, please send me an email.