Almost two years ago, employers around the world began moving employees to remote work. Since then there has been a return to the office and again an exodus: the coronavirus is mutating and forcing new restrictions.
For an inexperienced person, telecommuting probably seems like a fairy tale. No need to stand in traffic and the subway on the way to the office. No waking up too early. More free time (in theory, of course). In practice, things are much more complicated. Organization of workspace at home is fraught with difficulties and mistakes. In two years we have learned a lot and now we share our experiences.
Many people when moving to a remote job initially worked in the kitchen and living room. Both were distracting family members, and it was difficult to concentrate.
Ideally, work in a separate room. When there is no separate room, you have to cheat. For example, to fence off the workspace.
Important detail – lighting. Place a desk near a window, and during the day there will be enough natural light. In the evening buy more light, preferably adjustable, with a flexible leg. The light from the chandelier, as a rule, is not enough. Check site
Working remotely is a certain freedom, an opportunity to personally allocate time. Many people rejoiced early on when switching to a remote job: they had to do some serious self-organization.
It implies that during working hours you are working, not suffering from nonsense: not reading the news, not flipping through the Instagram feed, not being distracted on YouTube. Special web services help instill discipline:
- Toggl Track. Allows you to understand how much time you really spend on each process. Teaches you to do a specific task while running.
- Todoist. The analog of a physical notebook. You create projects in it, and you create tasks in them. You can also use it outside of work to create checklists.
- Trello. To replace stickers on display. In Trello you can start boards (a board is a working screen), on boards you make vertical lists from sticker cards. The card describes the task, the plan for completing it.
These apps increase work efficiency and unload the mind. With them there is no need to keep in your head all kinds of small tasks and grasp everything at once. You distribute it, decide in what order to do it, and start.
Desk and chair
So, everything is clear with the work area and applications. Let’s move on to the table and chair. Do not hurry to choose, because you are going to sit for eight hours a day or more.
It is better to buy a table with adjustable height and a gaming chair. Even if you are far from the games, this chair usually gives a head start over other solutions in terms of setting up and adapting to your own needs. We advise to pay attention to the adjustable armrests.
It is important to observe a number of rules when sitting so as not to hurt your back and wrist (not to develop tunnel syndrome):
- the wrist and elbow are at the same height;
- your wrist does not rest on the edge of the table;
- the hand you control the mouse is in a straight line with the elbow;
- your forearm rests on the armrest or table;
- the arm should not be extended in the direction of the mouse: the shoulder and forearm form a right angle;
- when moving the mouse, use your forearm; try to move the hand as little as possible;
- if the hand is aching, fix it in a neutral position with an orthosis. Another way to relieve pain is to use a gel pad, placed under the wrist. Or this way out: replace the usual mouse with an upright one;
- put a cushion under your lower back (a gamer’s chair has one);
- put your feet parallel to your hips, this way the body weight is distributed on your feet, hips and pelvis (otherwise only the pelvis is affected).
At the dawn of the pandemic, some remote workers thought they could get by with an ordinary kitchen table and chair. It didn’t work. The trouble with ordinary chairs is that they don’t have armrests, which means your elbow is hanging down. An hour or two, and you will feel a painful “recoil” in the neck and upper back. Ergonomic furniture, too, can not be called. You sit on it either without leaning on the back, or relying only partially. The lower back in this mode very soon becomes sore.
Also, it happens, telecommuters alternate jobs. Sit at the desk. They stand at the desk (if the height is adjustable). Sitting in the kitchen, on the couch, on the fitness table. A change of scenery is helpful.
Working from a laptop
Next, let’s look at the peculiarities of working from a laptop and a desktop PC. Let’s start with laptops.
If the outlet is far away, a surge protector will save you. Filter with a long wire will ensure the freedom to move with a laptop around the room.
When you place the laptop on the sofa, a slanting stand is useful to protect the device from overheating. They come with fans and without. Plus there are tables that allow you to work from the comfort of your bed.
On the subject of mobility, a wireless mouse beats a corded mouse. Just don’t forget to buy batteries for it on time.
Work from your desktop computer
The advantage of your own desktop PC over the office PC is that you are not limited in the selection of components. If you want – you can replace Windows with GNU/Linux operating system, if you want – you can build a gaming machine.
In contrast to the laptop, for PC you must take a keyboard, mouse, headphones, speakers, mat. Fans of keyboards with a clear stroke (mechanical) and soft (membrane) agree that the keyboard should be easy to clean. The same applies to a mouse.
Of course, you can’t do without a chair and a table with a PC. You will have to set up a separate workplace.
So for a desktop PC, you need to buy peripherals. For a laptop, most likely, too. Especially if the work requires going out for video or often recording audio.
Usually a laptop camera does not produce a picture higher than 720p. Therefore it is better to find a removable webcam. The built-in microphone is good only for the first time. If it is not critical, you can do it with a smartphone microphone.
Communicating by video and audio leads to the selection of an Internet provider. To work comfortably, it is recommended to connect to the Internet with a speed of 100 Mbit / s.
We have described some of the health recommendations in the “Table and Chair” paragraph. Read it carefully so that you don’t complain about wrist and lower back pain later on.
Here we will also talk about overeating. What was it like in the “office days”? You had breakfast at home, lunch at work, and dinner at home. Well, at a distance no one forbids a snack though every half hour. But it is better instead of snacks, push up, throw clothes in the washing machine, tidy up the room – in short, do something useful. Self-organize so that to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, as in the good old “office days” – on schedule. And it is highly recommended to go to the gym. After all, sedentary work, whether in the office or at home, threatens the development of various health problems.
For many, working remotely in a pandemic environment is the new reality. Most likely, it will become common practice, and in a few years working in an office will seem like something out of the ordinary.