Working from home—this means a day on the couch in your sweatpants, right?
Not so fast! When you’re working at home, you need to look after your health. Improper work setups, such as a couch or desk at the wrong height, can cause many problems.
The wrong workstation is likely to cause sore muscles, aches and pains in your neck and back, and can even lead to repetitive stress injuries in the wrist or tendons, known as RSI. Is there any way to make working at home comfortable and easier on your body?
Yes! Just because you don’t have a professional office desk at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t still come up with a few tricks to make working at home easier.
Keep reading to learn five top ways to stay comfortable when working from home—your body and mind will thank you.
1. When Working at Home, Set Up Your Workspace Correctly
When you’re just starting out working from home, you need to first take the time to set up your home office correctly. Although it can be tempting to grab your laptop and work from the couch, you’ll increase your productivity and stay healthier if you set up a dedicated workspace.
Setting up your home office is good for ergonomics, meaning your body will be in its most comfortable state, which helps your posture and helps avoid soreness from sitting.
First, consider the height of both your desk and computer screen. Your desk and chair should be positioned so you can sit comfortably at a right angle with your eyes parallel with your computer screen.
This way, you won’t need to look up or down constantly, which can be bad for your posture and cause back and neck pain.
Next, consider your legs and feet—to be most comfortable, a foot pillow will give you maximum support for your legs and back. Look for one that you can fit easily under your chair and desk that’s comfortable to the touch.
A great choice for a foot rest—https://www.everlastingcomfort.net/products/memory-foam-foot-rest-pillow.
Using the right type of keyboard and mouse can also be helpful. Look for computer accessories that are ergonomically-friendly, meaning they are designed in a way that mimics natural hand movements.
Sometimes, it can help to bring in an ergonomic expert to assess your home workstation and help set it up in a way that’s best for you, especially if you have back or joint problems.
These will be easier on your wrist, elbow, and tendons.
2. Take Regular Breaks
If you’re working at home for long hours each way, one of the best ways to stay comfortable is by taking regular breaks.
Our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a desk and look at a screen all day, so it’s vital to get up and stretch, walk around, and rest your eyes.
Eye strain is very common when we work at a desk, especially when working from home, as our lighting may not be quite as good as it is in the office. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, red, watery eyes, and neck pain, so it’s best to take at least a ten-minute break every hour.
You can also rest your eyes by taking time to look out the window or look elsewhere in the home, seeing something other than a monitor. Looking far away can reduce eye strain and give your eyes a much-need break.
It’s not only your eyes that need a break—the rest of your body does too. Try to get up and stretch, walk around the house, or pop outside to get some fresh air.
You can do some gentle yoga stretches, enjoy a brisk walk, or try a few minutes of mindfulness. Not only will it help your body, but it may help your mind destress, give you clarity and time to think, and might be a time for innovation and creativity.
You’ll also feel your best if you drink enough water throughout the day and get enough Vitamin D. Looking after your health gives you more energy and will help with your productivity and mood.
3. Dress for Comfort
One of the working from home benefits we all love is the ability to wear comfortable clothes. Sure, if you have a Zoom call, you’ll still need to wear a nice shirt and look presentable (from the top up), but for the most part, you can wear what you like.
You may not want to wear your pajamas all day, as you may not feel very professional, but you certainly don’t need to get dressed up each day.
Try wearing soft, natural fabrics that aren’t too tight. Linen pants, athletic wear, jeans, or yoga attire are all popular choices.
Sitting in the home all day, your feet are likely to feel the cold in the cooler months, so don’t forget soft socks or slippers. If your home tends to run hot and cold during the day, you may benefit from lightweight layers, so you can remove or add layers as needed so you stay at a comfortable temperature.
4. Create a Work-Life Balance
Staying comfortable when working from home isn’t just physical, but also mental. Your home is your comfort zone, place of relaxation, and your family’s sanctuary. What happens when your home also becomes your office?
To ease into your transition into working at home, you need to develop a balance between life and work. It’s not always easy to do, since most of us frequently check emails outside of office hours and give more time than we should to our jobs.
It can help to set your own working hours, including breaks and lunchtime—and force yourself to stick to it. Otherwise, you may find your work time blending into your personal time, which can lead to extra stress and less quality time with your family.
You can also manage your time better by using scheduling apps to block out your time, prioritizing tasks to get the hardest things done first in the day, and keeping your workspace separate from the rest of your home, such as in the guest room or home office.
It can also help to let your kids and family know that they need to respect your privacy at certain times of the day so that you’re able to concentrate and get everything done that’s required of you.
Treat working from home as you would treat a normal office job. This can help you feel calmer and manage your time effectively.
5. Eat Healthy Meals and Snacks
To stay comfortable while working from home, you also need to stay healthy. Working from your home means you’re only just steps away from your kitchen and unlimited snacking. Or, there’s nothing stopping you from ordering take out or pizzas every day of the week.
However, you aren’t doing your health any favors by snacking all day. Eating unhealthy foods can cause stomach cramps and discomfort and also leaves us feeling tired and sluggish—not what you need when trying to power through a busy day.
A better option is to take the time to prepare healthy meals while you’re working. Although it can be nice to cook each day, many workers find it saves time to cook over the weekend in batches and then warm up a portion as needed.
Depending on your diet, you may want to try a chicken curry, filling salads, one-pot pasta, or healthy omelets. Build up a stable of recipes that you enjoy so that you have some easy, go-to meals during busy times.
Batch cooking helps us save time and means we always have a nutritious meal waiting for us in the fridge.
You can also have healthy snacks on hand so that you have fuel to get through the day. Why not try almonds, sliced veggies and hummus, or fresh fruit slices?
Stay Comfortable and Healthy with These Top Tips
Working at home is a fantastic way to enjoy a flexible schedule, avoid the dreaded commute, and spend more time with your family. However, it’s important to be comfortable when working at home—both for your own sake and for your health and wellbeing.
Use the tips above to make sure you create a comfortable, relaxing, and safe work environment within your home. With the right setup, your back, neck, and mind will thank you and you’ll be able to power through long days without any aches and pains.
Get started today and start enjoying the benefits than working from home can bring!
Did you find this article useful? If so, please browse some of our additional content to learn more.