Happy New Year! Are you one of those people that sets some goal and then quits by January 2nd, or do you have an entire worksheet outlining your goals in all areas of life for the year? Whichever one you are, an area you might not have thought about setting goals/habits for is your work life! As most of us are still navigating working from home and what that can look like, here are some tips to implement to ensure a successful, safe and pain free year ahead!
Proper Workstation Set Up
Some of us sat at our kitchen counters for weeks before realizing that we are going to be working from home longer than anyone thought. Hopefully you have found a better solution than a kitchen barstool by now!
A good place to start is looking at your posture at your current workstation set up. Having adjustable furniture is ideal but not always feasible when working remotely. Let’s review the following items:
- Your seat height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor or a footrest
- Knees at 90 degrees, thighs parallel to the floor, elbows at 90 degrees to your work surface, and your forearms parallel to the floor.
- Your chair should have some kind of lumbar support (if it doesn’t, a small pillow works great!). Adjustable arm rest are nice as well, to allow for clearance to the desk.
- Work Surface
- Work from a hard surface like a table or desk.
- Try to eliminate as much clutter as you can to avoid awkward postures but keep frequently used items close to you.
- If your chair isn’t adjustable, is your work surface? Does it allow for 90 degrees of elbow flexion when working at your table/desk?
- The top of your monitors should be at or slightly below eye level (if its too low, use small boxes or textbooks to help!).
- Your monitor should be 18-26” away from your eyes.
- If you have two monitors, the center of the two should be in front of you and slightly tilted backward.
- Keyboards and Mouse
- If working on a laptop, consider an external keyboard and mouse!
- Do not raise your keyboard up.
- Move your mouse with your forearm, this will help allow for neutral wrist posture.
- Your keyboard and mouse should be at the same work level.
Movement and Healthy Habits
Sitting through meeting after meeting can get hard and can have negative impacts on your muscles and joints. Try your best to establish a new habit of incorporating movement into your day!
- Stand for phone calls and meetings!
- Use the 50/10 rule
- Sit for 50 minutes, stand for 10 minutes
- Stay Hydrated
- Try to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water.
Staying Connected to Coworkers
Staying connected with coworkers and family and friends during this pandemic has presented many challenges, but anxiety and depression are on the rise since this all began. Try to make an effort to stay connected with some of these tips to keep your mental health in good shape, too!
- Online Services that let you “hangout”
- Netflix Party: With this feature you can watch movies and TV shows with your friends again! The movie or show is synchronized to all houses/devices and there is a group chat feature to talk about what’s happening!
- Collaborative Spotify Playlists: maybe music is helping you cope during this time. Spotify allows you to create a playlist together! You and your friends can add and listen to the same music wherever you are, and you don’t need a premium account for this feature.
- Skype/Zoom/Facetime/Google Hangout: all great video chat services that allow you to call your family and friends whenever you’re available and see their face and share special moments, not just hear their voice over the phone.
- Be extra “neighborly”
- Connect with your actual neighbors or coworkers by planning a socially distant meal in a driveway or park!
As the new year continues, consider making new habits of making sure your workstation works for you, incorporating movement throughout your day, and staying connected to people to ensure a great start to 2021!
“9 Tools to Help You Stay Connected During the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Houston Methodist On Health, 9 Apr. 2020,
Pajer, Nicole. “40 Ways to Maintain Social Ties During the Coronavirus Quarantine.” Parade, AMG/Parade, 25 Sept. 2020,