Organizing your work from home space for the long haul

Consumer Reports has tips to make working from home more comfortable
student laptop
Posted at 1:41 AM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 02:41:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — We are now nearly seven months into the pandemic. For a lot of people, working and even learning from home are the new normal. It doesn't look like a lot of us will be seeing things go back to the way they were for a while, so we might as well get settled in.

Consumer Reports says it's time to set up your home workspaces for the long haul.

“We’re not in work-from-home survival mode anymore,” said ergonomics expert, Todd Baker.

He knows the importance of a good home office set-up and he has seen a major shift in his clients’ work habits.

“As people feel like they need to be in front of their screen to be accountable for work, people are sitting longer hours," Baker said. "It’s important that your body is in good alignment, so that you have the most energy and attention for the work you're trying to do!”

Whether you have access to a full-fledged home office or have to work from your bed in a studio apartment, Consumer Reports says it’s important to minimize strain on your body while you’re working at home.

“As long as you understand some simple principles of ergonomics, you can translate those to many different work areas. And the basics of good posture is the same for kids as well," said Rachel Rabkin Peachman, Consumer Reports Investigative Journalist.

Start with your chair.

If your lower back doesn't reach the back of your chair comfortably, put a pillow behind you. If your feet don’t reach the floor, place them on a stable footrest. Next, make sure the bend of your arms is anywhere from 90 degrees to 115 degrees. Your eyes should be your arm's length away from the computer with the monitor at eye level.

“Some people prefer to add a second monitor, both for comfort, but also for efficiency," said Peachman.

Consumer Reports recommends the Dell Ultrasharp 24 inch, and the BenQ 23.8 inch Display.

You may also want to consider a standing desk, but some can come with a hefty price tag.

"It isn’t that standing all day is better than sitting; it’s that a standing desk gives you the ability to move around more. Which is key,” Peachman said.

“It is more important than ever to find ways to change positions, to take breaks, visual, physical, and cognitive breaks to change positions and stay healthy," suggests Baker.

And if you're spending a lot of time working on your computer...and looking at a screen all day, to avoid straining your eyes, trying using the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away. It does make a difference.