RWL215 How to work from home and reduce physical affects

Aligning your workspace to your well-being is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. In this  reflection on my remote work journey, I share how I transformed my home office from a makeshift space into a sanctuary, all while reducing chronic pain.

So, whether you’re a remote work rookie or a home office veteran, this episode is your personal invitation to transform your workspace and take charge of your workday well-being.

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Speaker 1:

Hey, it's Alex from Remote Work Life. I hope this finds you well, wherever you may be Today. In today's tip of the day, I want to talk about exploring ways to improve your work from home setup for long-term well-being, and this comes from a place of, I guess, thought and a place of contemplation and, yeah, really thinking back to my own days when I started out working remotely, because I started by working from from home and you may have heard from previous episodes of the remote podcast, remote work life podcast, especially the episodes the tips of the day episodes that I've been doing quite recently, I started off on my kitchen table using my kitchen chair to do my work. I didn't necessarily think about it and then from time to time I might shift, I might move to a desk that I had and use the kitchen chair to, yeah, to make sure that I could reach the computer. It wasn't actually the right height for the desk and it meant that I had to stretch up to actually reach the laptop on my computer desk. So I didn't necessarily think at that time or really understand that you needed furniture that was aligned with your needs. I didn't really think about comfort at that point. Believe it or not, I can't actually believe it. I didn't think about comfort at that point. I just thought about starting the day and finishing the day and getting my work done in the day, and if it was a little bit painful, so be it, I would just grin and bear it.

Speaker 1:

But soon, you know, I experienced and got, I suppose, a message from my body to say, actually, everything's not right here. And I say that quite lightly, because it was quite painful in the sense that the message I got from my body sort of emanated from my lower back. So it was obvious to me then that in fact was. It was obvious to me then that. But in fact, yeah, it was obvious to me then that, um, something was not quite right and that I had to improve something. But it still didn't occur to me that it was necessarily the, the actual kitchen table and the kitchen chair that was the cause of the problem. I didn't really think about it. Um, I mean, I knew posture was, was something, so I just went along with it and I corrected my posture as as much as I thought I could. I sat up straight, like you know my mom has already always told me to do. Still, that didn't necessarily have an effect or the desired effect that I I wanted. So, again, it was through learning, through conversations with my colleagues, other people who work from home, people who I didn't know, people who I had reached out to because of my curiosity about remote work, I began to understand how they organized themselves and how they had ways to improve and optimize their own work from home setup for their long-term well-being. And then sort of the light bulb went off in my own head and I thought, okay, let me try some of these things, let me actually see if some of the things that they're doing are going to help me. And here's just a list of five things that I incorporated into my own setup, or at least actually I say five things. There are five things on the list, but haven't necessarily incorporated every single thing on this list, most of the things.

Speaker 1:

So let's start out with number one. Number one is ergonomic furniture. So I my first investment, my first big investment, I thought at the time, was a relatively inexpensive chair with a lumber support that you could inflate and deflate according to your tolerance level. So that was my idea of ergonomic furniture. You know, since then advancements have been made in office chairs and they're probably a lot more expensive than they used to be. But in many cases it's going to be worth the investment if you can have comfort when you're sitting at the desk. And of course sitting is not the preferred mode of working, but at some point you may have to sit. So you might as well invest in a chair if it's going to mean in a decent chair, if it's going to mean a long, a decent chair, if it's going to mean sort of like a long term chronic pain in the future. So ergonomic furniture was one thing. Another thing, another item of ergonomic furniture which I used was the sit stand desk. So a sit stand desk is something, again, that was necessary for me because I had the type of role which required that I sat down for quite long hours of the day and I didn't want to do that. So I kind of broke that up with that sit-stand desk. So invest in comfortable and ergonomic furniture to support good posture and reduce physical strain during long work hours. That's one thing.

Speaker 1:

Number two is natural light. So, again, natural light. You want to position yourself in position your workspace near a window to maximize natural light which can improve mood and reduce eye strain. And again, I live in a country, the uk, that especially in winter, um the nights or the evenings get dark very quickly. So I want to make the most of the natural light coming through and, you know, see the, the sun in the sky, see clouds in the sky, see, you know, just see daylight, because it's it's it's a a rare commodity in the in the winter time especially. So I cherish the natural natural light and always seek out places where I can benefit from the natural light and position myself in the optimum position where I can have light but at the same time, have a clear video call with my you know, my colleagues or with people I'm meeting with. So natural light is number two. Number three it's probably the one thing that I need to do more that I don't, which is plants and greenery. So incorporating plants and greenery into your workspace to bring nature indoors and improve air quality. And there's been research which says that plants and greenery can actually improve productivity levels. I think it was carl if university of the school of psychology, um has done research on this, and I'm sure there are other institutions that have done research as well. But just having green, having plants around, having flowers around, having color, vibrant colours around and the smell sometimes can stimulate my senses at least, anyway, hopefully you don't have any allergies that can have the opposite effect to that, but you know what I mean. So having those visual, those aesthetics in your office can make it all the better, and that's the beauty of the home office. You can set it up in any way that you want. So that's number three.

Speaker 1:

So number four is mood boosting elements, which I've spoken about before. So it could be artwork. I've got a picture of. It could be artwork. It could be photographs. I've got a picture of I like cricket photographs. I've got a picture of, uh, I like cricket. So I've got a picture of one of the former cricket captains, a signed picture of one of the former cricket captains in my office, um, I've got a picture of my, my, my wedding day, um, in my office, and that every time I look at that, that gives me a good feeling, a good sense. Whenever I feel as though I'm sort of under pressure, I just take a look at that, take a look at the picture of my kids and just things that I like, things like that, and it creates a positive and inspiring workplace for me at least anyway. So that's mood boosting elements.

Speaker 1:

And number five is again I probably repeat this, one more than anything else but wellness. And if you don't have your wellness, if you don't have, if you're not well, if you're not, you know, as fit as you can be, then that can impact upon your, your work. Health is wealth, as they say. Health is just the, it is just the root of everything, essentially because it makes things more difficult if you don't have your health. So doing things like morning stretches, going for a walk, recharging your batteries outside, can all help to improve your work-from-home setup and your long-term well-being. So by exploring ways to improve your work home setup and your long-term well-being, so by exploring ways to improve your work from home setup and long-term well-being, remote workers can experience increased inspiration, I believe, increased mood and enhanced overall well-being. So you know, treat your work from home environment with care. You know, be intentional about your work from home environment with care. You know, be intentional about your work from home environment, improve it where you can learn from others, see what they're doing, ask questions and make sure that you're working in the optimum environment for you.

Speaker 1:

I just want to say thank you for listening today. If you find this, found this episode useful. Please do consider sharing among your colleagues and friends If you have any suggestions. I'm sure that I mean the list I gave you was not exhaustive by any means. Any other suggestions? I welcome feedback. You can link with me on LinkedIn. You can leave a review below on your podcast app and please leave a rating as well, and I wish you all the best for the future.

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