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Practical Steps for Working from Home

I’ve been working at home, like millions of other workers have been for the past 4 weeks, with family all around me. I’m lucky in that I have a room I can work in and when the door is shut, they know that I’m working and shouldn’t be disturbed. I have worked from home on an irregular basis for some time and I have got a set up that works for me.

What if you have never had to work from home and now here you are, not quite sure how long your new way of working will last?

When I first started to work from home, I used a laptop and sat at the dining table and soon found out this wasn’t ideal as it started to strain my back.  As worked from home more often, I used a desk that was in the spare room. If this isn’t an option, I would advise that you try not to use your bedroom. Your mind will start to associate working with the bedroom and this could affect your quality of sleep.

I use a laptop and the only way I could get it set up properly was to use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and put the laptop on top of some hardback books as they are sturdier. I followed the rule that your eyes should be level with the top of the screen and make sure that my upper arms are at 90 degrees to the desk and forearms are level with the keyboard. I have an adjustable chair which makes getting the right height easier, if you are using a dining room chair you  might have to sit on a cushion to get the right height and use a cushion for lower back support. This method works just as well if you are using a desktop and monitor. Sitting on a settee, armchair or edge of the bed is definitely not a good idea!

I found that surrounding myself with things that make me happy improves my mood and productivity, like pictures or paintings. If you can, choose a space with lots of natural light that can reduce eye strain and headaches.  I also found that if you mimic how your desk looks like at work that made it easier to complete my work.  If you work better with a cluttered desk, then continue to do that.

Research shows that you can easily work longer hours working from home compared to the office, so give yourself some clues of the time, whether that is having a clock in your vision or set an alarm on your phone.  Tracking your time will make you keep to regular time and help you to take regular breaks. You also need to make sure that you know when to stop work and “close the office door” for the day.

If you think that your health is being affected by your work and you live or work in Sheffield, we are operating a telephone advice service. Please go to our website and click on the “ask an expert” tab to leave a message or ring us on 0114 2755760