Hybrid Workplace: How to Upgrade Your Home and Office Space

During the pandemic, many of us became experts at working from anywhere. But now that we’re seeing a shift to more hybrid working arrangements, it’s time to invest in an upgraded setup for both our home and office workspaces.

“Employees may have been working in suboptimal workstations for the past 18 months,” says Rachel Mitchell, Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist at ERGO Inc and member of Staples Canada’s Work From Anywhere Advisory Council, a collective of industry experts and thought leaders who provide valuable insights and practical solutions for the new world of work. “Now is the time to take a step back and consider how to optimize the setup(s) they have.”

Here, a few of our Work from Anywhere Advisory Council members share what you need to level up both your home office and in-office workstation for maximum comfort, practicality and usability.

Upgrade your ergonomics

For both home and office workstations, Mitchell suggests getting a proper ergonomic chair, an external keyboard and mouse, and a laptop riser. It’s also important to ensure you’re using them correctly, no matter which location you’re working from.

“When employees work at hotelling or shared workstations in the office, they may not bother to adjust the workstation properly,” Mitchell says. “But the wear and tear that we place on our bodies each day can lead to discomfort and injury if allowed to accumulate over time.”

Additionally, when you are not comfortable, you cannot be your most productive self, says Clare Kumar; speaker, executive coach and Work from Anywhere Advisory Council member. “Pain or serious injuries could also lead to time away from work,” she says.

Workstation chair

A proper chair is essential for both home and office, agrees tech social entrepreneur and Work from Anywhere Advisory Council member Winy Bernard. “As workers will be going from home, to office and back in this new hybrid mode, it will be important to upgrade their chairs.” Bernard recommends the Monarch I 7225 Mesh Multi Position Office Chair as an option that’s both stylish and ergonomic.

A supportive, adjustable chair is essential for any prolonged computer work (longer than 30 to 60 minutes), says Mitchell. Equally important: understanding how to use it properly. Not sure how to properly position your chair? Check out our ergonomic chair adjustment guide to optimize your seated position.

External keyboard and mouse

If you’re in the market for a full-size wireless keyboard that includes a number pad, Bernard recommends the Logitech MK235 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo. But if you’ll be transporting an external wireless keyboard from office to home and don’t require a number pad, Mitchell suggests getting a wireless keyboard without one. “Compact keyboards are a smaller piece of equipment to transport,” Mitchell says.

Although it’s tempting to purchase a smaller-size travel mouse to ferry back and forth from home to office, Mitchell recommends purchasing a full-sized mouse that fits the palm of the hand and allows it to rest naturally on the mouse. The Logitech MX Ergo Trackball Mouse has an adjustable hinge that lets you customize the angle for comfortable wrist and hand placement.

Laptop/Monitor Riser

If you work regularly with a laptop or small screen device, a monitor riser is a practical workstation upgrade. “Working directly off a laptop can place a lot of stress on the muscles of the neck and shoulders if not set up properly,” notes Mitchell. An adjustable model like the 3M Ergonomic Laptop Riser is ideal for both home and office use and can be set to a range of heights for optimum comfort.

Sound system upgrades

After months of working from anywhere, many of us have gotten used to working with fewer distractions and less ambient noise. For office use, Bernard suggests a workstation upgrade in the form of a set of wireless earphones that will help block out the external noise of a shared office environment.

To upgrade your audio experience at home, pick up a speaker with excellent sound quality. “A speaker is key when working from the home office,” says Bernard. “It allows for great sound and the ability to get into a great frame of mind while working.”  Kumar agrees, adding that good sound is important for effective communication. “A portable USB microphone can make it easier for others to hear you.”

Setting up two offices might take a bit of leg work up front and will require some tweaking as you settle into each space, but your future self will look back on it and be thankful you did it.

“Rather than working through the discomfort, invest in the supports you need for each kind of workspace,” says Kumar.

Winy Bernard, Clare Kumar and Rachel Mitchell are members of the Staples Work from Anywhere Advisory Council, a collective of industry experts and thought leaders across the fields of tech, productivity, design, ergonomics, and more. The Council supports our community in the new world of work with expert insight, thought leadership and informative content to work smarter, learn more and grow every day. Find out more about the Staples Work from Anywhere Advisory Council and its members here.

By Staples Canada

October 29, 2021

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