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How to make working from home 1% more comfortable

On this month’s remote working radio show on DS106radio we talked about how to make working from home 1% more comfortable… and improve your work wellbeing in the process.

The idea comes from practices like yoga and meditation. As you lie down in order to relax or sit still to focus, your teacher may prompt you to move, wriggle, to use a pillow or a cushion, anything to try and make yourself a little bit more comfortable.

Most of the time, pausing to consider what you can do to make yourself more comfortable in itself is the most valuable part of that process and can really help you gain more awareness of what’s going on in your physical self.

So, it’s worth asking yourself that very question, in particular when it comes to working from home.

The past two years have been tough, so anything and everything you can do to make things even a little easier is welcome.

Where to start

If you haven’t done so in a while and especially if you have recently moved things around, checking in on your work set up from a basic health & safety perspective and reviewing display screen equipment guidance is a good first step.

Many of us become blind to constant factors that make working uncomfortable, like glare, noise, a bad chair and so forth. Try and look at your set up with fresh eyes.

If someone else had to use it for a week, what do you think they might like or find difficult?

25 obvious, but effective, ways to improve your working environment

There are a lot of things you can try, and what will make a difference to you depends on the way you work and your personal preferences. Here is a list of 25 things to get you started:

  1. a plant
  2. a nice coaster
  3. a new mouse mat
  4. wrist rest/mouse rest
  5. glare protector
  6. photos/pictures/art
  7. lights for different times of day, i.e. a work lamp, fairy lights, a candle
  8. scented candle
  9. diffuser for aromatherapy oils
  10. foot rest (cushion or yoga bolster can work, too)
  11. cushioned slippers or shoes (particularly handy for standing desks)
  12. find a window sill or high shelf you can use as a place to have meetings with your laptop
  13. headphones that suit your ears
  14. a mouse you like (mine glows in rainbow colours)
  15. a selfie or ring light
  16. eye mist
  17. an alarm or similar that reminds you to take regular screen breaks
  18. a water bottle
  19. new flavour hot (or cold) drinks to try such as new herbal teas or coffees
  20. a secret snack stash (healthy or not)
  21. music
  22. a mat for your chair/you to stand on
  23. a rock or shell from somewhere you like
  24. cleaning products for your workspace, i.e. eco wipes, disinfectant, screen cleaner
  25. A place for a pet to be… if you can persuade them

Moving beyond 1%…

Support from your employer with purchasing office equipment for home working (or if you are self-employed here in the UK, you can apply for support with office equipment costs from the Department for Work) should help with making bigger changes, such as buying an adjustable desk, a suitable chair and other equipment.

And there are other ways to improve your home working environment, especially when things are stressful. One example are resources you can dip into during short breaks or a subscription to an app like Calm which offers work-focused support.

Over the past two years many of us have started to value support for managing stress and finding balance more and more. Asking yourself how you could be 1% more comfortable may lead to answers that are less tangible and more about mental wellbeing.

What are you going to try to make your day tomorrow 1% more comfortable?