Maintaining Productivity While Working From Home NEW NORMAL with COVID-19

With the spread of COVID-19, more employees are working from home than ever before.

Yet, many of us don’t have home offices that support the way we need to work or our long-term ergonomic needs.

What is an ergonomic need?

Think about the angle of your computer monitor or the height of your desk. Think about whether your eyes are strained by the end of the day or if your wrists hurt from typing. A sound understanding of ergonomics helps people safely, efficiently and comfortably interact with their work environment.

The illustration below from the MAYO Foundation for Medical Education and Research provides the following recommendations:

Stay in tune with your body

When we work from home we tend to spend more time at our desks than when we are in the office which can lead to:

Prolonged Sitting

Make sure to schedule stretching breaks and change your posture - consider standing for a call.

Eye Strain & Fatigue

Use a larger monitor if you can. Sit by a window and use a task lamp to supplement the natural light. Give your eyes a break and regularly look across the room.

Poor Posture & Improper Alignment

If you don’t have a footrest or adjustable height desk, get creative with stacking sturdy boxes, books and other household items!

One of the biggest challenges of remote working is fortifying team success and productivity.

Ways to ensure your team will be successful working remotely:

  • Use remote collaboration tools and protocols
  • Adapt a results-oriented management style that supports these new ways of working
  • Establish clear performance measures
  • Manage results, not presence
  • Quickly get to the root cause of what may be impacting productivity (e.g. training or motivation issue)

Embrace the Experience

  • Be honest with your team about the changes and potential challenges
  • Identify processes that might need to evolve to accommodate more remote working (e.g. paper-based processes)
  • It is completely normal for people at all levels to face differing challenges during the first several weeks of remote working, which could affect their individual and team performance
  • It is important to keep open lines of communication to ensure employees transition smoothly

Involve the Team

  • Create a structure for support and feedback
  • Take inventory of your team’s work processes
  • Agree to how you want to track work and set deadlines
  • Set expectations about communication methods and frequency
  • Check in!

Communicate & Engage

  • Develop new communication and collaboration strategies as a team
  • Promote and create opportunities for informal communication
  • Become a pro at virtual meetings
  • Too much communication is better than not enough

Support One Another

Conducting regular check-ins with colleagues and managers can help keep all team members engaged and successful, and avoiding struggles with working remote, illustrated by:

  • Joining meetings late
  • Constant interruptions and distractions
  • Challenges using communication/collaboration tools
  • Feelings of disconnection from colleagues, team and office


  • Identify and celebrate small wins in the transition to remote working
  • Use creative ways to incorporate fun into work– like a virtual party when a major deliverable is completed
  • Recognize good work

Remember this is a change for everyone on your team.

Remote working can be challenging, and the more we understand and acknowledge the challenges, the more productive we can be.

Stay safe and productive.

Some tips to help tune up home office space...


  • Adjust your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or footrest and thighs are parallel.
  • Rest your arms gently on the arm rests with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Support your lower back curve.
  • Place your hips as far back as possible.


  • Make sure there's clearance for your knees, thighs and feet under the desk.
  • Align your thighs parallel to the floor; use a footrest if necessary.


  • Put the monitor directly in front of you, an arm's length away, behind the keyboard.
  • Place the top of the screen at or slightly below eye level.
  • Position your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.

Keyboard & Mouse

  • Place your mouse and keyboard on the same surface.
  • Keep your wrists straight, upper arms close to body, and your hands at/slightly below elbow level.
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use.


  • Use your speakerphone or a headset instead of cradling the phone between head and neck.

Accessories (i.e. desk phone, printed material, notepad)

  • Keep frequently used items close to your body to minimize reaching.
  • Stand up to reach anything that can't be comfortably reached while sitting.

For more information about remote work please reach out to the Newmark Knight Frank Workplace Strategy & Human Experience Team.

or email GCS@ngkf.com