How to set up your workstation correctly

No doubt you’ve heard the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. If we were able to have our say, we would change that slightly: “There’s a clever mind behind a tidy desk”. Use these tips to set up your workspace and see how your productivity grows.

desktop PC with mouse, calculator and neatly arranged book piles

Workspace 101 – become digital nomads

A familiar scenario: papers all over the place, a faded post-it on each side of the screen, and it’s virtually impossible to keep track of everything. Some of us still like working with paper, but it’s worth giving the right digital alternative a chance. 

For example, with the virtual post-its in Outlook, Microsoft OneNote – the classic for all kinds of notes – or the Evernote app, you can jot down a wonderful range of notes and even use them to create tasks with automatic reminders. Another huge advantage is that they can be accessed at any time from anywhere. If you can get an idea of things this way, working at your desk will certainly be easier. 

Naturally, it is also important to invest sufficiently in electronic equipment and renew it on a regular basis because if something suddenly breaks or is no longer compatible with other devices after a software update, important data could be lost.

Order at last

Once you’ve got rid of the annoying sheets of paper covered in doodles, you can start on the holiday souvenirs and other odds and ends that might get dusty on your desk. Anything that has no direct connection to your work and overloads your desk unnecessarily will distract you. The virtual desk on your PC would also appreciate a bit of tidying up. In particular, files and information relating to customer projects should always be organised in an easily understandable folder structure so that you can find them whenever you are looking for something. 

And if you still haven’t had enough, why not tidy up the tangle of cables under your desk that you’re always tripping over with a cable tunnel? After all, it’s an uplifting feeling to sit in front of a tidy desk.

The right level of comfort

 After sitting at a desk for eight hours, everyone will feel a twinge in their back. And if you tend to have poor posture, you could soon end up at the physiotherapist. So organise your desk to suit your needs. 

To protect your back and neck, your arms and legs should be at an angle of 90 degrees while you work. You should also be sufficiently distant from the screen, which should ideally be at eye level. 

If you work with a laptop, you can set it up on a surface and get yourself a keyboard and a mouse. Neither should be too far away, so you don’t have to stretch your arms forward. Ideally, your arms should always be close to your upper body. 

And make sure you sit straight! Keep pulling your shoulders back and down to avoid the typical “Hunchback of Notre Dame” posture. 

But probably the most important thing is to take regular breaks and change your position regularly, too. On average, you should change your position slightly every 15 to 30 minutes. If you don’t have the luxury of a height-adjustable desk, try a Swiss ball. This automatically forces you to change your posture regularly.

 

Plants are your friends

Plants offer an ideal change of pace so that your eyes aren’t just staring at the screen. Put a few plants around your workplace because photosynthesis (as we all learned in biology classes) purifies the air and a touch of green makes for a pleasant atmosphere. If you don’t have green fingers, you can start with undemanding green plants or succulents and slowly improve your skills. 

Tip number 1 for plant care from our Head of Vendor Management and green muse Luise: it’s better to water too little than too much. If you think it’s time to water again, it’s best to wait another day or two. Most plants die from overwatering. However, almost all of them like being sprayed.

Let there be light!

Make sure you work in a room with plenty of light. The sun shouldn’t shine directly on your screen as it makes it difficult for you to see the image and will probably cause your eyes to squint, which in turn leads to tension in your neck. You see, it’s all a cycle. 

But it shouldn’t be too dark either because then there will be too much strain on your eyes. A blue filter that tints the screen slightly orange can protect your eyes. Depending on the brand, you can configure this on your laptop or PC or install a program for it. If you are working on a project where a true-colour display is important, be sure to briefly switch off the filter. 

Glasses with specially coated lenses can also be used as an alternative to blue light filters on screens. Your eyes will thank you in the evening because they won’t feel nearly as dry or tired.

 

Did these recommendations help or do you still have a few tips on how to create an optimum working environment that you would like to share with us? Then send us an email to freelance@apostrophgroup.ch or send a few comments directly under this post.

 

And if none of these tips help your productivity, you may just be suffering from writer’s block. Something translators also suffer from. You can find out more about how to overcome writer’s block in this post.

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