Some people are work-from-home pros. Others, like me, were thrown straight into it without much notice (thanks, pandemic). And I think this is something a lot of us did. Where we just cleaned up a section of the kitchen counter, dining table, or desk, set our laptop up, plopped down, and got to work.
Weeks of working from home turned to months and here we are. We’re starting to feel it in our bodies, all these new aches and pains in our necks, backs, and wrists. We now know this approach isn’t ideal.
I’m going to assure you that you’re not alone. Having to pivot on short notice from in-office workstations to makeshift home offices is something that many people across the world have experienced recently. And many of us didn’t know the first thing about it! But we’re going to upgrade our lives today.
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Fast Fixes For Your Home Office Setup
Remote work is rapidly growing these days. Working from home is no longer solely for digital nomads, telemarketers, or engineers. In this day and age, remote work is becoming more and more common, with companies striving to catch up with the times, looking to offer remote work to their employees in order to stay competitive in today’s job market.
Telecommuting, or “WFH” (working from home) for short, is more than just being able to respond to emails from your bed. You’ll need the right equipment and set up in order to really thrive as you do in the workplace. Let’s start with a few fast fixes you can make to your setup today.
Find a Supportive Chair
The perfect home office chair should provide both upper and lower back support. Since our spines follow a natural S-shape curve, you’re going to want a chair that’s built with that in mind. That means when your back is pressed against the backrest of the chair, there shouldn’t be any gaps between the chair and your spine. If your chair has a flat back, chances are that’s not an ergonomic chair.
How you can fix it:
- Place a small pillow or a lumbar support cushion behind you to support your low back.
- Buy an ergonomic office chair that comes with lumbar support, adjustable seat height, and adjustable armrests. Your body will thank you immensely.
Bring Your Screen Up To Eye Level
Your monitor should be at a height that lets you gaze straight ahead at your screen, without too much of a head tilt or neck strain. Leaning forward, looking up, looking down, or looking to the side at your screen just adds more weight and unnecessary strain to your head. This can lead to stress in the neck, shoulders, and spine which could translate into neck pain and even back pain.
How you can fix it:
- Place books under your laptop or monitor to create a DIY stand.
- Invest in an adjustable desk raiser (this will also allow you to have a standing desk)
- Get an external keyboard and mouse so you don’t need to hunch over your laptop for prolonged hours.
Position Elbows and Knees Properly
When you’re sitting for 6+ hours in the day, you’re going to want to make sure you’re in a passive, neutral sitting position. Make sure your arms aren’t scrunched up or flared out while typing. Your shoulders should be relaxed and elbows bent at 90 degrees (or wider). Knees should be at hip level, also bent at 90 degrees or slightly wider. Feet should be on the ground or on a footrest.
How you can fix it:
- Get an ergonomic office chair with adjustable height, or get a seat cushion to raise yourself up to the right level.
- Get a footrest to support your feet if the height of your seat leaves you with dangling feet.
Take Stretch Breaks
Once or twice a day at minimum, carve out five minutes or so to just stretch your limbs and your neck. Do a few neck rolls in so that the joints in your neck stay free of any tightness, tension, and stiffness. Throw in some arm and leg stretches and a few twists, and just give your body the chance to switch up positions.
Easy Home Office Upgrades You’ll Want For Working From Home
Whether you work from home full-time or just a day here and there per week, these tools will improve your home office space as well as your overall productivity. Not to mention, you’ll get to enjoy them in your everyday life, even when you aren’t working!
Adjustable Standing Desk
We’ve all heard it—sitting too much is seriously bad for us human beings. It’s been shown that people who sit for the majority of the day have increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and early death. Sitting in front of a computer or doing paperwork is so integral to our work life, so how do we escape this fate? Fortunately, height-adjustable desks or standing desks, are here to save the day. Less back pain, better posture, better health. In addition to these benefits, you might also notice improved productivity, mood, and energy levels. Now, who doesn’t want that?
Adjustable Standing Desk | Personalize the height of your desk does wonders for ergonomics. Adjusting up and down is super easy with a motorized standing desk, so you can also switch from sitting to standing multiple times throughout the day. This one has a fully motorized lift from 28-45 inches and also has memory preset options for easy adjustment.
VIVO Height Adjustable Stand up Desk Converter | Don’t want to replace your whole desk? VIVO’s desk riser provides you with the ability to get out of your chair and relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, and increase productivity. Go from sitting to standing in one smooth motion with dual gas spring force. I have one of these and believe me when I tell you it saved my back!
If you’re using a standing desk, highly consider adding an anti-fatigue mat. These cushioned, foam mats aim to reduce body fatigue. Not only will your feet thank you, but so will the rest of your body. You can find versions on Amazon and office furniture stores for about $30 to $40.
Kangaroo Original Standing Mat | Designed with the highest-grade materials, these extra thick mats were ergonomically engineered to keep you comfortable while standing for prolonged periods of time. The premium quality foam helps to eliminate tension to give you superior support in your kitchen or home office. I love my Kangaroo mat, plus, they have so many colors and patterns to choose from!
The Ultimate Seat Cushion
At some point, all of the day-to-day sitting will begin to creep up your back and cause upper back pain even. In comes Purple’s Royal Seat Cushion to the rescue. For ultimate sitting luxury, you will want this seat cushion. Purple cushions provide awesome butt comfort, especially when sitting for hours on end. I swear by this seat cushion, and so do all of my coworkers who sit in front of a computer for hours at a time. And don’t worry, it comes with a black cover so you’re not sitting directly on weird purple plastic!
They also have equally amazing back support cushions as well. For the sake of your butt, your back, and your overall health, the splurge is worth it.
Orthopedic Donut Cushion
Sitting– it’s every desk worker’s silent killer. Face it, we sit for a really long time during the workweek. You might not feel it now, but prolonged sitting can lead to back and posture problems that’ll bite us in the butt when we’re older. Donut cushions are a solution for your current or future back pain.
With this portable orthopedic donut cushion, you can ensure proper posture and alignment anywhere you go. Use this in your home office, in your car, at coffee shops, or anywhere you plan to sit at for a while. (Also, if you have hemorrhoids, tailbone pain, lower back pain or sciatica, this is going to be your best friend.)
Ergonomic Innovations Donut Pillow | This firm cushion is well made and endorsed by leading physical therapists. It’s also effective as a sitting pillow and back support for office chairs.
Lumbar Support Back Cushion
For those of you who spend the majority of your day sitting, this one is also for you. If you don’t want to sit on a pillow all day, consider the next best thing– a back support cushion. Not only does this alleviate back pain, it also does wonders for posture. Good posture and alignment is everything for our aging bodies, so you should equip your home office setup with something that will treat your body right.
LoveHome Memory Foam Lumbar Support Back Cushion | This chiropractor recommended lumbar support cushion will relieve lower and mid back pain and tightness from prolonged sitting or driving. It supports your back’s natural curve to achieve the ideal spinal alignment and promote a healthy posture.
Ergonomic Foot Rest
Let’s keep the ball rolling with the ergonomic footrest, which is a great addition to the home office for shorter folks. Dangling feet, poor foot posture, or feet that stay still for hours on end as you work can cause blood to pool in your lower extremities. This can lead to stress and strain on local muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This pressure can even eventually lead to chronic back pain. This is where an ergonomic footrest can really save the day. Ergonomic footrests promote “active” sitting, which is highly beneficial for blood circulation and muscle tone.
Everlasting Comfort Office Foot Rest | Unlike other standard under-the-desk footrests that are half-moon shaped, this one has a teardrop shape with an orthopedic design that places your feet and legs in a more comfortable and ergonomically correct position.
A comfortable chair, designed specifically for maximum low back support, will help minimize back pain now and in the long run. Based on a previous study, it was found that employees who used an ergonomic chair reported fewer negative symptoms throughout the day and an increase in productivity of 17.7%.
The majority of our workdays are spent sitting down, so we need to arm ourselves with chairs that give the proper posture support.
Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair | This ergonomic chair has so many adjustable features to give you the perfect seated fit. You can adjust the headrest height and angle, the lumbar support height and depth, the armrest height, the seat height, as well as the backrest tilt.
Adjustable Laptop Stand
Another great addition to your work-from-home arsenal is an adjustable laptop stand. The lightweight, folding design allows you to carry your stand effortlessly, anywhere you go. It also packs up nicely, saving you space and keeping your office room neat and organized.
Since the ergonomics of working at coffee shops are usually pretty terrible, a laptop stand is really useful if you want to work outside of the home. Lifting your screen up to eye level is a small win, but an easy way to improve ergonomics since it helps to reduce neck strain from looking down at your laptop for long periods.
And okay I’ll admit, these are pretty useful for in-bed use, too.
Desk York Adjustable Lap Desk / Laptop Stand | The best thing about it this stand? You can use it in bed or on the couch, ergonomically! Doing work in bed has never been more pleasant.
TaoTronics Lap Desks | This one is another highly rated option with four adjustable tilt angles. This sit-to-stand laptop desk doubles as a foldable table for picnicking, a bed tray, or a reading table. It’s good for really anything and can be folded up and packed away in a jiffy.
Laptop Power Bank
Upgrade to a power bank that’s powerful enough to enable you to work wherever you want, without having to worry about your battery life. That way, you’ll no longer have to hunt for a desk situated next to a power outlet. With this awesome product, you’ll be able to “work from home” from all your favorite coffee shops!
MAXOAK Laptop Power Bank | You can charge your laptop 2.5 times, or phones 11-18 times before it requires another charge. Talk about productivity.
HALO Bolt Portable Laptop Charger | This powerhouse has two USB charging outputs, which means you can charge your phone and your laptop at the same time. It has enough power to even jumpstart your car!
LED Desk Lamp Light
Lighting is so important for the health of your eyes, and with the growing need to stare at screens all day, an LED desk lamp is one of those things you really ought to get. The soft lighting will not only ease strain on the eyes, but will produce a calming effect on the room.
LED Desk Lamp Light with USB Charging Ports | The four USB charging ports and two AC ports mean you can use this desk lamp as a charging station for all your devices. The simplistic design is perfect for the office, bedroom, or living room.
Yoga Blocks and Yoga Mat
Invest in a yoga mat and blocks for use during your lunch hour, or even during those small 15-minute breaks throughout the day. Practicing a quick stretching routine can counteract the countless hours of sitting hunched over your work station. Taking some time in your day to stretch and your neck, chest, and back muscles will do your mind and body wonders.
Manduka Premium Cork Yoga Block | This Manduka block is made of 100% cork, which offers a firmness not found in its typical foam competitors. You will also feel good about the origins of these blocks, knowing there are no toxic chemicals produced in their harvesting and manufacturing.
Gaiam Essentials Yoga Mat | These 2/5-inch exercise mats make for the ideal, multi-purpose fitness mat for the home. It’ll even double as an everyday standing pad or knee cushion, perfect for your household chore needs.
Epson EcoTank Wireless All-in-One Printer | This wireless all-in-one supertank printer offers Cartridge-Free Printing with easy-to-fill, supersized ink tanks. Each replacement ink bottle set includes enough ink to print up to 4,500 pages (which is equivalent to about 80 individual cartridges). This will save you so much money in the long run.
Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse
Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard | The MK550 uses Logitech’s Constant Curve layout for reduced stress and better, more natural typing. You’ll experience lower wrist fatigue with the integrated palm rest and the adjustable keyboard height options. Plus, it looks so sleek!
Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard
If you have limited space to work from home or you need your setup on the go, then a foldable Bluetooth keyboard can serve as a great replacement for your at-home keyboard. When unfolded, it acts like any old keyboard. At the end of the day, you can easily fold it up and tuck it away in your backpack or drawer.
Samsers Bluetooth Keyboard | This keyboard’s best features include its standard-size design provides accurate, fast typing, just like the desktop keyboards you are used to. It also has quiet keys that allow you to focus on your work. It’s compatible with both laptops and tablets, perfect for travel and business trips.
Headset / Headphones
A good pair of headphones or a headset is required for any remote worker who takes calls and has meetings on a frequent basis. Hands-free headsets are the way to go, as they free up your hands and allows for better multitasking and increased productivity.
Jabra Evolve 65 UC Stereo Wireless Bluetooth Headset / Music Headphones | This 2-in-1 headset allows you to chime into your Zoom meetings one minute, and jam out to your tunes the next. This pair provides a hands-free wireless connection with 10 hours of talk time. It boasts passive noise cancellation to eliminate background noise and provide amazing sound on both ends of the call.
Panasonic KX-TCA430 Comfort-Fit, Foldable Headset | No frills headset with flexible noise-canceling microphone and volume control.
Portable Laptop Monitor
Mobile Pixels Duex Pro Portable Monitor | Offering 270 degrees of rotation, DUEX Pro is an awesome alternative to those chunky desktop monitors that bound you to your home. You can now work where ever you’d like! Simply connect DUEX Pro to your laptop, and you’re ready to boost your productivity by up to 50%!
Amazon Echo | Having an Amazon Echo Show for your home office will save you so much time. You can effortlessly schedule reminders and meetings, see your agenda for the day, as well as get your questions answered without having to spend any additional time on the computer. Not only will your productivity benefit from this, but you can live out your smart home dreams as well. Turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more with compatible connected devices.
Anjou Cool Mist Humidifier and Diffuser | If you’re going to be home all day, might as well make your surroundings as clean and pleasant as you can. Diffusers can turn a drabby home office into a spa-like setting. The ultrasonic technology on this one delivers a fine and stable cool mist which increases the air humidity without dampening your furniture or your floor.
Sound Spa Machine
HoMedics SoundSpa | This 3-in-1 sound spa, alarm clock, and diffuser is a game-changer for converting that home office into a more tranquil place to work. Focus on the grind while listening to the sounds of Thunder, Campfire, Zen, Ocean, Brook, or Fan sounds. The diffuser discreetly mists your dry air with a light, pleasant fragrance, while adding a touch of color with its softly glowing lights. This will surely be a great sensory addition for your home office.
Officeline Dry Erase Board | Incorporating a whiteboard into your home office gives you a more visual alternative to notebooks or paper, great for simple scratchwork or brainstorming new creative ideas. Having a designated space for outlining, storyboarding, jotting down goals, and to-do lists can be a huge boon for productivity.
As you can see, home office upgrades can really make the working from home situation a lot less sucky. On the fence about some of these products? Well, remember to always invest in your body–you’re only given one in life! Thanks for reading, wishing you many more productive workdays from home!
What are some of your working from home must-haves?
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