Setting Up Your Home Workstation

Working from home has presented a unique set of challenges for many, and before we even start working from home, we have to deal with the first challenge – setting up a work station. Comfort is a big factor, so is functionality, and how to keep a space that works with your home and family.

In a time when thousands of people have started working from home, you may feel like you could not get to the office store quick enough to buy the perfect equipment. Setting up a space is so much more than finding the right chair though. During my time working fully remote for Athena, I have worked from eight different houses! My top tips to setting up a workstation at home are:

    home office example

  • Your chair is important. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a new chair, or sneak in to the office and steal your work one. It can be as simple as adding a strategically placed comfortable cushion or two on your chair. Height is important though, it is best to use a chair that lets your legs sit at a 90 degree angle.
  • Your screen placement is also important. You may only have one table in your house, so work with what you have. If possible, prop your screen so that your eye level is at the centre of your screen. You can use different items from around the house to do this like large books or a cardboard box. Make sure it’s sturdy before placing your monitor or laptop on it. Having a separate mouse and keyboard makes this a lot easier, as you can keep your keyboard in line with your elbows and have your screen higher.
  • Laptop users may find great benefit from having a monitor connected, to better allow the adjustment of the workspace. This could mean using the laptop as the keyboard and mouse, and the monitor as your screen. Most laptops allow the screen to be turned off while the monitor stays on, to reduce distraction if only one screen is wanted. With the right connection, many screens can be used including most TVs – keeping in mind work may be a little hard on a huge screen!
  • Find a position where the light from outside does not hit on to the screen, or directly behind the screen. Hitting on the screen can create glare, which makes it difficult to see the screen. Having the light directly behind the screen means you will be facing it. The combination of the light of the computer and the light behind the computer can make it difficult to concentrate.
  • Decide on a space for your workspace that meets your priorities such as:
    • Do you need to keep an eye on your kids?
    • Are you and your roommate/partner distracted by each other’s work?
    • Your health and mood, such as being able to see outside, heating/cooling in your home etc.
  • If you feel pain or stiffness, re-adjust the above! Rules don’t work for everyone, so use these as a guide and tweak to your situation.
  • Lastly, remember to get up and stretch for about 5 minutes every hour or so. Five minutes of walking can help to reset your body’s natural position.
Written by Mekaela Stevenson