The world has been inundated with advice and counsel on how to work effectively from home. My advice to you — keep it simple.  Focus on (1) your effectiveness, (2) your presentation, and (3) your comfort.

Effectiveness. Working from home requires that you have the tools you need to be effective.  Most offices now have dual or large monitor options. If you transition to a home office with a single 12 inch screen, you will be less effective in your work. Secure a second monitor that allows you to have multiple windows open at the same time.

The internet is our lifeblood that either ties us to the outside world or, when connectivity is limited, can frustrate and cripple our effectiveness.  Upgrade to a current generation router. If you are using a router you received from your provider 5 years ago when you initiated service, you are not optimizing connectivity. Spend the $65 to ensure you have the right equipment.

Most workplaces are now maintaining virtual meetings. What you have to say is in those meetings is important.  Likewise, it is important you hear all that is being said. Headphones with noise-canceling in both speaker and microphone will up-level your performance in those endless video chats you will be attending.

Presentation.  Think about what you do each day to prepare yourself to go into an office.  Hopefully, you shower, brush your hair, dress appropriate for your environment, and work to present yourself in as favorable a light as possible. This approach should not change when you work virtually. Sit up in your chair when meeting.  Maintain eye contact and fight the urge to multi-task. Even over video, people know when you are not focused.  Ensure that your background is visually acceptable and never, ever take a call from your bathroom.

Comfort. By and large, when you work, you will either be sitting down or standing up.  The options are limited. Secure a chair that ergonomically accommodates your body.  It should have adjustability that ensures you are not working in a contorted state.  Invest in lumbar support and a seat material that is cushioned enough to be comfortable for extended seated periods.  Chairs with this type of functionality can be had for as little as $100.

With that said, it is not advisable to work seated at all times.  The ability to stand while working can result in less back and foot pain, has been shown to make you more productive, and can result in more calories burned than sitting for the same period.  You can invest as little as $50 in a standing desk solution.

With a little intentionality and an investment of $200-300, you can meaningfully impact your virtual office game to a level that will enhance your physical comfort, productivity, and overall presentation. 

Todd Richardson is CEO of EDGE Mentoring, a non-profit focused on whole person development through inter-generational mentoring.  

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