Seven ways to stay comfortable while working from home

Working remotely from home has become the norm over the past year thanks to COVID-19 – and it looks like a trend that is set to stay even after the pandemic finally passes.

While working at home has its upsides (no commute and the freedom to wear more relaxed clothes to work if you wish), it also has it challenges. And chief among these for most people is finding ways to remain productive when not in a formal work environment.

For some people, they’ve answered this problem by maintaining as much of their usual work routine as possible, including observing strict ‘office’ hours and dressing for work. But how can you strike a happy balance? How can you instil enough work ethic through keeping to typical work routines and dressing, while maintaining comfort?

Trethowans
Trethowans

How to stay comfortable when working from home

If you’re not comfortable while working, your productivity will suffer. And we’re not just talking about slipping into sweat pants and a comfy t-shirt. What about your work space? You may not realise, it, but your office desk and chair have been carefully designed and chosen for ergonomics as much as style and budget. They’re set up to keep you comfortable when working a long day.

But do you have the same set up at home? At best you may have an office style chair and desk, but are they designed for up to eight hours of work? And you may not even have that – the chances are your ‘desk’ when working at home is your kitchen table or, worse, a laptop on your lap on the sofa.

As cute as those stock shots showing people working from the sofa and bed may be, that’s just not a practical set up for a comfortable, eight-hour working day.

So how can you stay comfortable while working remotely from home? Here are seven suggestions.

1) Wear comfortable clothes 

While we’re not suggesting you slob out in pyjamas for your working day, you don’t need to go to the other extreme either and dress in full on suit and heels. So consider your work outfit carefully. If you’re spending a lot of time on important video calls, then you will certainly want to look smart from the waist up, but you can afford to wear warm and comfortable trousers.

Think about the material you put next to your skin too and choose cozy clothes that are gentle to your skin and breathable. You can try EBY underwear, shorts, and t-shirts and see how you fare in them through the day. 

Try to avoid tight garments when working as these put pressure on your body, and it’s the last thing you’ll want if you try to remain comfortable. You should also avoid robes, pajamas, and other heavy clothes unless it’s during cold months. Heavy clothes may cause drowsiness and reduce your productivity. 

2) Update your work plan 

When you work in an office you have natural breaks. You’ll get up and talk to a colleague, maybe walk to the printer or a meeting room, get coffee, climb stairs between floors, head out to buy a sandwich at lunch… basically it’s rare you’ll spend all day sat in one chair, in one room.

But when you work from home you don’t have these natural breaks, and reasons to get out of your chair. Which can lead you to seizing up, or just not giving your body the chance to stretch and move. And not only will this not feel nice, but it’s going to impact your productivity too.

So make sure you plan your working day around short breaks. Get up , stretch, maybe even do some yoga poses. Walk around your garden or the block, or run up and down the stairs a couple of times. It doesn’t matter what it is, planning some short breaks in your day will keep your body (and mind) fitter and more alert – and comfortable.

3) Set aside a working room 

If you want to remain focused when working then try to find a defined work space at home. ideally it will be somewhere quite that you can close off at the end of the working day. A spare room or office would be perfect, but even a corner of a room you can screen off can help.

What you don’t want is to sit and look at things that will distract you – like piles of laundry or dirty dishes. You also want a space that is comfortable, ideally with natural light, well ventilated, quiet and a comfortable temperature.

4) Get comfortable office furniture

We’ve already touched on the importance of comfortable office furniture. And if you’re going to be working from home long term, it’s worth investing in a comfortable chair and a desk that is the right height. Your back will thank you for it!

A good office chair will have an adjustable height and a solid base to support your weight, plus arm rests to offer you support. You can also get yourself a bookshelf where you can arrange any items you need for easy access.

5) Eat healthy meals 

Working at home gives you a luxury you usually don’t have in the workplace: access to a fully stocked kitchen! No more disinterested sandwiches or limp supermarket salads for you – you can treat your body to healthy, freshly prepared food that you’ll enjoy eating and will give you a natural, long lasting energy to see you through the afternoon.

Just don’t go overboard and eat so much you feel drowsy in the afternoon. Or be tempted to raid the cookie jar to stave off a mid-afternoon slump. It can help to shop wisely and ensure you have lots of healthy food to prepare lunch from and snack on.

6) Set your schedule around productive hours 

We all have times of the day when our energy is higher and our mind more alert. So when you’re a lark or an owl, working from home gives you more freedom to choose the hours that suit your personal comfort best.

If your energy is higher early in the morning then you can get up and start work before most people clock on. Then in the afternoon, when your energy starts to wane you can stop work having completed your working day.

If you work for a company, you may need to get their agreement to shift your working hours, but when they understand that you’ll be more productive this way, and as long as it doesn’t mean you miss important meetings or aren’t available for clients when they are working, they may be amenable.

7) Use proper technology 

While working at home, you may need any different tech gadgets to work on to your projects comfortably. This can be as basic as a laptop that doesn’t spend 10 minutes loading a document, or as complex as specific machines for your job. If you work at a computer make sure it’s set at the right height so you’re not hunched over it for hours, and again, take regular breaks to give your eyes a rest.

You should also use the proper settings on these devices. For personal computers, you may adjust the display light to the right level to protect your eyes. And adjust the volume on speakers or headphones at an optimal level to not feel irritated.