Hi, my name is Rich. I handle much of the marketing for Back and Body Medical. I’ve been working from home for several years now, even prior to the pandemic. I actually love it as it allows me more freedom to not only work on my own terms, but also to express myself through my workspace. It’s something I’ve been working on for for the past year to improve over and over.
From my humble beginnings on a $500 laptop and a bench desk from IKEA to a large U-shaped desk with ample surface area, three computers and an iPad, I’ve worked through a lot of different workspace scenarios before I found one which really works well for me.
My goal is to have an office that I love coming into and working at and as importantly, one that isn’t going to give me back ache or neck pain. So I’ve thought long and hard about what tools I want and how to set them up.
I am very happy with my home office set up now, but it’s not yet complete. My next target is to incorporate a sit/stand desk so that I can move from the sitting to standing position for 15 minutes an hour which should be a massive game changer I am told.
But for now, here’s some of the things I have learned over the past several years which have helped me reduce pain and improve my workflow.
Tip 1 Adjustable Monitor Arm
To date, this has been the single most powerful tool in my arsenal. When I was considering a monitor arm, I was thinking it would be something of a luxury, but now I don’t know how I lived without. This
arm is fantastic and holds my 34″ monitor effortlessly. I am able to move it into any position I need to encourage my head to be at the correct level to the screen so as not to have to lift my head or look down, keeping my neck in its optimal state.
For me, I have found that the base of the monitor needs to be about 8″ from the top of the desk. This arm will be even more useful once I invest in a standing desk as the monitor position will be different. I paid about $60 from Amazon and it’s really effective.
Tip 2 – A superior chair with ample support
I used to pay $90 or so for a chair and get through one a year. These chairs were the normal office type chairs you’d get from IKEA or Staples.
They’d do the job but were nothing great. And having to buy one a year was a pain. So one year I spent about $300 for one from Staples. So far it’s lasted almost 3 years, but even it feels like it’s wearing thin. It is comfortable with plenty of padding and support, but it hasn’t lasted as well as I’d hoped. May have to invest in a higher end chair.
You do get what you pay for and while it’s not perfect, it is much better than the cheaper ones I was going through.
Tip 3 – A clear desk makes for a nicer experience
I have never been so organized with my workspace since I bought a wrap around desk with ample surface area. My desk always used to be such a mess and believe it or not, I had experienced a couple of injuries in looking for stuff that was “I’m sure it was here two days ago”. How, because a couple of times what I was looking for had fallen on the floor and I had to reach and stretch under my desk to get to it. Ridiculous I know.
Now I have a very organized area. My most commonly used items are in front of me on a shelf under my monitor. I have a specific area for note taking when I’m on the phone with a client. I then transfer these notes into easy to follow to do lists on my ipad which I can check off when complete. No need for looking through reams of notes trying to figure out where and when I wrote something.
And my back up computers are now out of my way behind me, but connected to my monitor via long cable runs under my desk and controlled by a switch.
A cleaner office working space has also taken a lot of stress away and I love sitting in here and working now which is a massive battle won. Far better than spending time working on the couch.
Tip 4 – Always keep your dog close
Having that additional help in your workspace makes for a pleasant and relaxing environment. Until someone walks past the house and she jumps up and barks of course!
Working from home does work. You do have to work out what works for you and it may even take months for you to crack it. But it is worth the investment in time, money and energy because there is nothing like a nice environment to work in and especially one that doesn’t promote back or neck pain.
I think I am 95% there. The standing desk will make a huge difference I am sure, but for now, the three take away points would be a nice environment, screens set at the correct height and a good and supportive chair to sit in.
Even with all this, I do visit my own chiro a couple of times a month, just to stay on top of everything. And I would absolutely use Back and Body Medical if I lived close by.