For those of us working from home, what do you do to make your workplace more comfortable (and productive)?


#1

As the title goes. Inspired by my cluttered desk (that I’ve had since the first day I went to school and can’t see myself giving away) and an “orthopaedically friendly chair” that cost a bunch and is literally falling apart under me before even the end of warranty, I thought I probably wasn’t an expert on this particular subject, so it wouldn’t hurt to ask others.

So let’s share some experiences of making a “home office” more comfortable and/or more productive.

I don’t have much but I’m fairly convinced it pays to invest in a good chair, a solid keyboard if one types a lot (mechanical recommended), similarly a decent mouse and mousepad if needed, especially the pad, actually (if you move your mouse a lot e.g. to arrange text formatting, a mousepad intended for computer game players can help a great deal). Putting the monitor higher than the desk surface may be worth the effort, or even getting a second monitor if one handles a lot of documents (I bought a second one for such a job, it does make life easier when there are multiple documents or other windows that need to be opened at the same time; incidentally, I once found a Windows 7 upgrade for 50% off and it had the wonderful function of auto-arranging the window to half the screen on the left or the right if you drag a window to the edge of the screen). Getting some instrumental (no vocal) music sometimes improves the comfort. A desk or floor fan for the summer season is kinda obvious but an air filter is less so (and is good to have).

There are also things to do rather than have or make. Such as taking breaks (even a walk or some exercise), e.g. every 60 minutes or so (used to be recommended in the case of computer work), opening windows (which could easily be forgotten), etc. Personally, I know very little about that, though. I just tend to allow myself to stretch my legs a bit and to take a break and surf around the Internet a bit or play a computer game. I work better then, although the work day may end up dragging until evening or late evening. I take a lot of comfort from being able to walk to the shop or otherwise go out for a while pretty much any time I want (or even take a whole day off without much hassle).

What about you?


#2

Hi chevalier,

I don’t work from home per se, but since I do work in the legal field, I take individual cases on the side which means that I have to have a place at home where I can safely store client files, etc. This has become somewhat of an issue due to the fact that I live in a shoebox sized apartment, so it often makes storage challenging.

For me, the secret is a combination of creativity, organisation and storage. A well organised file cabinet is a must, as well as a box to place old files/papers that are no longer needed but cannot be discarded. I try to place things in the files immediately so as not to have papers floating around.

I don’t have a desk (:eek:) but I do work from my kitchen table, using my laptop. My printer is in my bedroom and if I need it, I move it out to the kitchen. When I am done working, I have to put everything away, otherwise it just causes clutter and the potential for losing or damaging important papers.

I agree about clearing your head. Oftentimes (for me) it is hard to come home from sitting at a desk at my day job and jump right into other work at home, so I like to do some sort of physical activity. For me, a 1hr cycle ride on the river trail is immensely refreshing, but for everyone I’m sure the preference is different. Another thing I do in my diet is try to eat higher protein, low-carb foods becuase often times the carbs will make me sluggish and tired. If I stick to a good combination of proteins, whole grains and fresh fruit/veg and a vitamin supplement, I find it is much easier to concentrate on work than if my diet is poor (that said, I’m not sure how I made it through college! ;))

Finally, routine is helpful for me because I’m very easily distracted by opportunities to procrastinate. If I’m working from home on, say, a weekend, I treat it like any other day. I don’t allow myself to lie about in pyjamas but instead will get dressed and try to maintain a work-like routine. I try not to surf the internet because it can drain so much time and instead will reward myself with intermittant breaks for physical exercise, a quick snack or something like that.

Best of luck with your job! I think it takes a lot of self-discipline and organisation to effectively work from home full time, and I’m not sure that I am up to that task yet. :wink:


#3

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