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The New Normal: Creating a Workplace that Works at Home

As your work life starts to invade your home life, and you feel yourself missing all the little things – your favourite coffee shop on the walk to work, the water cooler banter with your colleagues and even your commute – we would like to offer a few tips and tricks to ease the transition from office space to a home workplace until we can all get back to our usual patterns of the life we love.

1.  Maintain your routine

Working remotely demands a big mental shift and brings with it a sudden loss of the collegiality and socializing that comes with a workplace. Try to do exactly what you always do on a workday – get up at the same time, shower, dress, eat breakfast, listen to the morning headlines.

2.  Carve out your workspace 

Consider picking a spot with a table or work surface that is 27-29” high. Any higher, and you may find an increase in shoulder and neck discomfort. Where, in your home, can you concentrate without too many distractions? If you are also supervising your children and ensuring their education continues online, create two schedules; one for your work and one for the children’s schoolwork.

3.  Select the best chair available

If you don’t own an adjustable office chair, pick a chair that provides back support, allowing you to sit upright (hip to back angle of 90-110 degrees) with your upper body weight supported on the backrest. If your work surface remains slightly higher than your seated elbow height, consider tilting your keyboard slightly (using the feet on the back of the keyboard) to promote straighter wrist posture.

4.  Use a room with a view

If it is possible, set up a workspace that supports creativity at home, even during self-isolation. If you’re able to, work near a window. The variation in natural light has proven health benefits and being able to see outside will boost creative thinking. If none of your windows have a view of the outside, fear not! You can attempt to make the inside look like the outside using biophilic design. Not only do plants boost our creativity but they also purify the air of the room, allowing us to breathe fresher air.

5.  Take breaks

Ensure that you are getting up from your desk every 30-60 minutes to stretch and walk around. The less “ideal” your workstation set up, the more often you should be getting up and changing postures. Consider whether you can stand and pace around your space while on telephone conferences. 

6.  Remember self-care & self-love

Working from home can be isolating, especially if you are used to being in an office surrounded by your peers. Make a point of checking in with your colleagues by telephone for more complex issues, rather than starting up a long chain of email; and, consider video conferencing options as well. Finally, don’t forget to get out for a daily walk to ensure you have a reason to get dressed and get some fresh air.

As the saying goes, “it is what it is” for now.  So, might as well make the most of the situation! Flexibility is key and will make that double shot extra foam caramel macchiato that much sweeter from your favourite coffee shop when the state of emergency has been lifted. You might find yourself stopping to smell the roses, too, the next time you are able to walk that way. Mayhew has a large selection of ergonomic work tools to choose from for your new home workplace. Reach out to us at info@mayhew.ca to find out what might work best for your home office!