Regardless of whether you are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to work from home – and sincerely hope the “new normal” means it can continue – or if you’re itching to get back into the office, a proper setup is crucial. For many, a basic desk, any computer in the house, and a low-cost task chair will do, but this is the bare minimum and isn’t necessarily conducive to a healthy, productive indoor environment.
There’s a lot of ground to cover on this subject but, with some optimizations that prioritize ergonomic comfort and efficiency, your home office may become your favourite new space. Here are the critical elements you should consider. Don’t be afraid to gradually invest in high-quality components that will last you a long time – you don’t have to do everything at once!
Fluorescent bulbs are not healthy to sit under. They dry out skin cells and absorb moisture like a sponge, and they can cause some serious fatigue. Switching to more energy efficient LEDs largely mitigates this, but nothing can beat the health and wellness benefits of natural daylight. Situating your setup near a window, but not facing it, is easier on your eyes and mind without serving as a distraction. Minimizing glare on your screen is possible by either investing in equipment with a matte display, installing matte screen protectors, or positioning your computer and/or monitor away from direct sunlight.
There’s no need to run out and buy a top-of-the-line motorized standing desk – hand-crank variants are readily available for far less, and yes, those from big-box stores serve the purpose just fine. The go-to for the best price-to-performance ratio is the IKEA Linnmon, a low-cost desktop available in a wide variety of sizes. With its pre-drilled holes and various compatible legs available as add-ons, it’s ideal for any work-from-home setup. We recommend grabbing height-adjustable legs to ensure the desk conforms ergonomically to you.
Don’t fall for the “any chair will do” statement – it’s not exactly accurate. If you’re sitting for hours on end, whether at work or home, it’s crucial that you have a chair tested and rated to provide ergonomics and comfort for long sitting sessions. These types of chairs are rigorously optimized and usually much more long-lived than budget alternatives. While there’s an element of sticker shock in terms of the upfront price, they usually come with excellent warranties – over a decade is not uncommon. An ergonomic task chair with proper lumbar support, one designed to fit the curvature of the human body, can save you from back, neck, shoulder, and leg pain – not to mention long-term health complications.
If you’re balking at the prices of a new Herman Miller Aeron or Steelcase Leap – among the most respected, long-lasting, and dependable office chairs on the market – don’t worry. Many of these premium manufacturers sell their products through authorized dealers. Such companies normally furnish entire offices for a low cost, but they’ll also likely sell you a brand-new chair with the manufacturer’s warranty at a wholesale price, which can be as much as 50 percent off in some cases. Best of all, if something needs repairing ten years down the line, they’ll be the ones to service your chair. Instead of purchasing a new chair every few years that isn’t as ergonomic or well built, you could get as long as 15 to 20 years out of just one if you take good care of it – maybe even more!
Next up, what about a computer? Surely that old PC in the family room is working well enough, right? While that may be the case, your employer might need you to switch over to something else to use a specific program or for security and data compliance purposes. Some companies provide such equipment while others give credit for you to purchase something. If you’re lucky, maybe you can nab a backup computer to ensure you can remain productive if the first develops a hardware failure or gets infected with a virus.
If you’re going to purchase any sort of computer for home office use, your best bet is to invest in a business-grade notebook or PC. While no single brand is the end-all, be-all and each has their own unique quirks, finding a professionally refurbished ThinkPad or HP Elitebook laptop is probably one of the best options out there. These machines are ordered en masse for government and commercial clients, deployed and refreshed frequently with new processor and other hardware updates for large teams. Therefore, there are oodles of them out there in like-new condition at relatively low prices. The key reason to consider such a system (there are other business-grade laptop lines equally suitable) is due to not only security and extreme durability but also repairability. RAM, batteries, USB ports, displays, keyboard assemblies – almost everything can be serviced by yourself or a local repair outlet. An alternative if you’re a desktop user is to build your own PC – it’s no more difficult than an intermediate LEGO kit if you’re patient and detail-focused, and you can select the specific parts and components that align with your budget and performance needs best.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how to optimize your work-from-home setup. Along with these recommendations, try adding plants to your room to keep the air clean and encourage a positive mood, add a high-quality external webcam and mic for those Zoom calls, and ensure your indoor relative humidity is between 40 and 60 percent so you stay sufficiently hydrated. If you’re on the lookout for a new rental space for an office of your own, explore our options or contact us today. We’re happy to help!
Disclaimer: Medallion Capital Group is in no way affiliated with any of the brands or product lines mentioned in this article. Recommendations are based purely on extensive real-world experience operating in home and commercial office environments.