But even though the words might now be routine, the first lockdown in March 2020 was anything but. One of the biggest changes it introduced to our lives was the work from home mandate. And even though the lockdowns may now have ended, it looks like the trend of working from home is here to stay.
But let’s be honest – not all of us are lucky to have a home office we have free and easy access to, especially if there are other family members also working from home. (Children and pets can be their own distractions too!) So, that often leaves many of us with just one option left – our sofas.
Now, while they’re great places to relax and unwind, and they’re an undeniably big influence on the room’s overall style (especially with one of our loose sofa covers from Cover My Furniture), they’re not always the ideal workspaces. They can technically serve as short-term working spaces, but if you’re going to do that, you’ll still need to make sure the area is properly prepared. Otherwise, you can end up doing yourself some painful (and possibly long-term) injuries. So, here’s what you’ll need.
A proper working surface
The very first thing you’ll need is a proper working surface for your computer or laptop – not just for the sake of your work equipment, but for your personal health too. Thankfully, there’s plenty of choice; you can find all sorts of lap desks, or side tables for your sofa.
If you can avoid it, try not to be looking down at something, while hunched over. Ideally, you should be looking at something eye level. One way to do this is to hook up your TV to use as a monitor, which you can do easily enough with an HDMI cable. Alternatively, you can work standing up from the kitchen counter, which is something that plenty of experts recommend doing from time to time.
If nothing else, it’s definitely worth getting a keyboard and mouse to use, if you’re not doing so already. Using a laptop for extended periods without a keyboard and mouse means you’re much more likely to develop back or upper neck discomfort.
Support for your back
Another absolute essential. Working from your sofa is particularly problematic for your back because it naturally encourages you to slouch, and crane your neck forward to see what you’re watching. What’s more, the danger is that you can feel comfortable even while your body is quietly protesting. Gel seat cushions can be helpful in this regard, helping to provide additional support for your lower back; which is in the most danger from this sort of activity.
Similarly, if you’re working from a dining room chair, it’s a good idea to ensure that your back and behind is properly supported with extra cushions here, too. And make sure that your feet touch the floor, so that you can properly support your legs. If not, find something to rest your feet on.
There’s a good chance that your regular living room lighting won’t cut it, so you’ll need some extra light if you’re going to avoid straining your eyes. One good option is to find a floor lamp with a flexible neck, so that you can adjust the angle until you’ve got optimal light and room to work. And obviously, avoid mood lighting. A soft red glow from your lights might be very useful in relaxing of an evening, but it’s not terribly helpful when you’re trying to work. Ideally, you’ll want to offset as much of that blue light from your screen as possible.
No, we don’t necessarily mean go out for a run every hour (although if that’s how you keep yourself charged up, feel free). Instead, it can be something as simple as getting up for a short walk around every five minutes or so. Stretch your arms, stretch your legs, and give your eyes and neck a break away from that screen.
Of course, when it comes right down to it, there’s a reason that we all have all this equipment at the office – and a lot of it is to do with looking after our health! With all the above said, ideally it’s best to avoid working on your sofa if you can. You’re generally happier, healthier and more productive when you can keep your work and relaxation spaces separate. All this is almost universally supported by experts, who tend to agree that your sofa is one of the worst places you can work for a prolonged period of time. If it’s a short-term emergency solution for a few days or so, you may well be fine. If it’s looking like weeks or even months, we’d recommend looking into a more long-term solution!
Ultimately, this is all general advice. We’re not specialists in ergonomics and efficient working ourselves here at Cover My Furniture. What we are experts in, though, is helping your sofa to stay clean, comfortable, and looking at its best for years to come. That’s where our fitted sofa covers come in – we’ve got a huge range of colours for you to choose from here at Cover My Furniture, giving you plenty of options to give your sofa a whole new personality. You can even switch up the colour of your sofa throughout the year, changing its style to suit the changing seasons! You can choose sofa covers in every shade from red and orange to blue and yellow – and plenty more! If you’re having trouble making a decision, or you’re looking for something in particular, don’t hesitate to let one of us know. You can get in touch using the contact form on our website, or through our Facebook or Instagram. We’re always happy to hear from you!