Create an Efficient Home Office
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Months into the pandemic, you may be looking around your home office – whether it’s a portable station at the dining room table or a desk in your basement – realizing that your current set-up isn’t perfect. With school starting, you realize you need to create a new workspace away from kids engaged in virtual learning. The following tips can help you create a more efficient workspace.
While a folding or dining room chair might have worked in the short term, the longer your work at home, the more important the ergonomics of your set-up become. Give some thought to investing in a true office chair as well as an ergonomic keyboard, which can provide relief as compared to pounding on laptop keys. Evaluate the level of your computer screen, which should be at eye level or a little below. Create a DIY footrest out of a box or old college books to elevate your feet if they don’t touch the floor.
Find the Light
It’s not uncommon for people to have carved out office space in a basement location or even in a walk-in closet. Consider moving your office set-up to a place with natural light or to shift your desk alignment to be faced towards natural light. Most people feel more energized with exposure to a natural light source.
We’ve all heard the stories, or experienced them ourselves, of a crying child launching themselves into a meeting or a barking dog interrupting a presentation. If possible, create your office space in a room with a door. If you don’t have a door, try a room divider or low bookcase to separate your workspace from the rest of the house. Wherever your space, use signs to alert family members to times you must not be interrupted.
Create a Storage Solution
A big issue for people with temporary home offices is they wind up having papers everywhere or having to constantly move their work resources to make room for family dinner or other household activities. While you may not want to invest in filing cabinets, consider inexpensive cardboard box filing solutions available at office supply stores. Try wall storage such as magazine style racks or children’s library-style display shelves. If you have a bookcase, clear a section of it out for work resources. A closet with some empty space? Put a simply shelving system inside for office storage.
Plan Burst of Activity
In an office environment, you walk from your car to the building and get steps in by walking to meeting and break rooms. Store retail RDs are used to getting thousands of steps every day by engaging shoppers. When working at home, however, you may find yourself sitting in one location for hours on end. To encourage movement as a part of your day, consider an option for a makeshift standing desk as well as enough space to get up and stretch every hour. Consider a walking path inside your house that you can maneuver during conference calls.