Now that a majority of us are working remotely from home, it’s important to set up the right space for yourself at home so that you’re still able to separate yourself from the professional world and your personal one. This is much easier said than done, especially considering your professional world is now occurring literally inside of your personal space. However, there are still little things you can do for yourself in your new “home office” that will make coping with this pandemic a little bit easier.
First, the basics, you need to find a space that’s quiet and separated from your living room or bedroom. You also will need a flat surface to act as your new desk, this is why many people choose the dining room, as they have a huge table to spread out their things. Regardless, you want a space that also has some kind of window or natural lighting if your home allows it, this way you also don’t feel even more suffocated as you cope with this quarantine.
It’s hypocritical for me to tell you not to work on the couch in order to avoid falling into habits of laying down and watching TV, as I’m currently writing this from my couch with my desktop computer propped up on a TV dinner table, however, at the same time I can tell you from this first-hand experience that if I had a real desk right now, getting my work done wouldn’t feel as tortuous.
Ideally, you want to be sitting in a proper chair with back support that forces your legs to run parallel to the floor while your feet touch the ground. This is the best position for your posture and will ensure that you aren’t constantly slouching over; by the way if you’re reading this, pause and make sure you’re not slouching, and maybe get up to stretch for a minute, it’s important to keep your blood flowing.
If you’re working on a desktop computer, making sure your monitor is at eye-level is much easier than if you’re doing your work on a personal laptop. If you do have to use a laptop of any kind, try to prop it up on some hardcover books or maybe a box so that the screen is eye-level. To re-emphasize my point before about sitting properly, when your line of vision is directed downwards so that you can view your screen, your body is automatically going to begin leaning forward and towards the screen as an involuntary response to see it better. Keeping your eyes forward and head up will keep you back straight, and your eyes focused.
Finally, make sure you’re getting up and moving throughout the day. Take snack breaks and move around your house. It can become infuriating to stay in the same place all day every day, and even though you and your house have already become very accustomed to one another within these past few weeks, it’s important to move around your space.
Going to work everyday would normally give us a reason to get up at an earlier hour, get ourselves together and motivated to do what we need to do in order to come back home and unwind at the end of the day. Now that we not only are able to sleep in more, stay in sweats while sending our morning emails and not move from our couches for hours at a time everyday, it can become easy for us to get trapped in cycles of feeling depressed and like life has become mundane. This is why it’s important to stay moving, and active in our personal time, while creating a stress-free at-home-office environment during our professional time.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.