As part of my continuing experience as the “new girl” after my recent career change, I am grateful to have an opportunity to look at my work environment through a fresh lens. I’m in an open concept workspace, which is brand new for me. I will admit that the spacious cubicle, even with an automated standing desk feature, at first threw me for a loop.
I have always had an office with a door that closed. This is my first open concept workspace rodeo and I need to learn the norms, while also making this environment work for me.
Ergonomics 101 – my new workstation is well equipped with an ergonomic desk and chair that are optimal for my sustained physical wellbeing. Let’s review the basics, in case you need to adjust your workspace.
- Optimal distance between your eyes and the computer screen = 20-28 inches
- Your elbows should be at a right angle when your hands are at your keyboard
- Sit back slightly (135 degrees) to put less strain on your back and to avoid hunching over, or hyper extending what you think is a straight back
Sitting is Still The New Smoking – we all know that a sedentary day can lead to debilitative health issues. Ideally, spend less than 3 hours at a time sitting. Get up and move! Take a rejuvenating stroll around your office space, or even better – get outside to breathe some fresh air and reboot your energy, while stimulating your heart and circulation.
My new workspace has Focus Rooms for private worktime and phone calls that you don’t want to take out in the open concept. This stimulates movement during the workday and also adds variety to where I conduct business, which keeps my creative juices flowing. We have larger teamwork rooms for bigger group work and an abundance of white boards for ideating.
Walking Meetings – I have been delighted that a few colleagues have already asked for walking meetings. My extra pair of sneakers are stored safely in my desk drawer and when weather permits, these walk and talk meetings are a refreshing break in the day.
The Lunch Dilemma – I am trying very hard to honor a lunch break and eat my food away from my desk. Working through lunch is a bad habit I don’t want to perpetuate in my new role. Most days I bring my lunch and grab a table in the open café area. It’s a great way to meet new people or find a quiet table and bask in the solitude of a thoughtful break from a busy day. After all, even extraverts enjoy some quiet time!
I’m thankful for the opportunity to consider so many things as I navigate this new role. A fresh start is a wonderful way to reflect on how you want to be seen and heard in a new work environment. It’s given me the opportunity to learn my new work culture norms and to set boundaries and new possibilities for myself! Change is a wonderful journey.