One whole year since lockdown first began and we’ve all perfected our working from home setup – right? Maybe. (Personally I invariably end up perched at the edge of the sofa with my laptop while trying to make sure my eight-month-old doesn’t choke herself with whatever household object she’s trying to cram into her mouth at that very moment.)
Maybe you have invested in creating the optimum working environment for you, whether that’s a supportive chair, blue-light glasses, or just a subscription to a really good coffee bean delivery. Or maybe, like many others, you were rushed into the whole working-from-home thing, and even one year later, you still keep putting off making any serious changes to your setup because you don’t know when things will go back to ‘normal’. It could be tomorrow. It probably won’t be.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that working from home is here to stay, in some capacity or another. So make the space you work from as pleasant and conducive to productivity as you can. Treat as an exercise in self-care, and an excuse to treat yourself to some new stationery.
Be realistic about where you work
It’s all very well to set up a standing desk with an ergonomic footpad and natural light from all angles, but it means nothing if most days you work in your bed. Think about where it is you actually end up doing your work the majority of the time. If it’s not your desk, is it because your desk setup isn’t right? Or is it because you prefer the light in your living room, or the space you have on the dining table – or do you just really like working in bed? If that’s the case, embrace it. Don’t force yourself to work at a desk if you don’t end up doing your best work there. After all, what’s the point of working from home then? (Apart from being responsible and limiting social contact.)
Upgrade the things you use the most often
The time has come for you to stop dragging that wooden dining chair around and give your back a break with an actual office chair. It may seem like an outrageous purchase at first, but it’s one that you and your floors and your downstairs neighbours will soon come to appreciate.
Other upgrades to think about: an ergonomic mouse can alleviate hand cramps and the dreaded onset of carpal tunnel; a laptop stand will prop your screen up at an angle that is kinder on your neck. Swap your standard-issue Apple earphones for some cushy noise-cancelling numbers, or bring in a fancy desk lamp that makes you look extra glowy for your Zoom calls.
Get your hydration station sorted
One of the many benefits of working from home is that your co-workers will no longer judge you for how much coffee you drink, nor the manner in which you choose to make it. So embrace it. Optimise your hydration station with whatever you need to keep your caffeine and water levels high; a pour-over kit! A slow juicer! A Vitamix! (And a glass straw, because those things are fancy.) Surround yourself with the things that bring you joy, and hydration.
Finally, treat yourself to something nice
Everything mentioned above has been merely an upgrade of something you already use; functional necessities for the business of working. But if we’re going to keep sane in these times of ongoing madness, we also need to treat ourselves. Come payday, get yourself something nice that is not strictly necessary – a print for the wall that keeps you positive; a throw to cuddle up in when you begin to feel the onset of existential doom; an essential oil diffuser to keep your space smelling fresh. I’m personally a big fan of a facial spray – a nice daily spritz of luxury that keeps your skin hydrated and your spirits calm.
Now go forth and be productive! And if you do end up on the sofa after all, you know what to do…