Romanian IT Industry is in good shape. What about its people?
As we’re getting some positive news about anti-COVID vaccines being shipped across the world, there is a sense of optimism starting to take hold – this is the case for me. There is an end in sight, there is hope that the new year will bring better things than the previous one and that things will normalize, regardless of how “normal” will look like.
There is a lot of debate about how things will change, one of the more noticeable debates is how we’ll work – all of us present on LinkedIn came across the makeshift polls asking about our preference. Beyond the choice of where to work, the advantages or drawbacks of both environments, we must admit that the tools we have at our disposal influence our work and our results.
As a consequence of #workfromhome on more permanent basis, there was a shift in the type of people I spoke with. Rather than speaking with organizations, I actually spoke with the people using the products and got a much better understanding of what sort of environment people are looking for, what tools are important to them in order to be able to do their best work. Based on those conversations, corroborated with what I observed while working in an office full of programmers, here are my conclusions:
Are you sitting comfortably?
A “High-Performance” chair is the most important investment of any working setup, your back will thank you for it over the years. Beyond comfort, a good quality chair can have a lifetime of 8-10 years, sometimes more. As we spend most of our time in one, it is important that we use a chair designed to keep us comfortable and in a flow state.
There are a lot of chairs out there that look cool and have the “premium” price tag on it but don’t do the job of supporting its user properly. Choose a chair that was created with performance in mind, rather than design and steer away from gaming chairs. As a tip: choose a chair with a soft seat instead of a mesh one – mesh chairs have a plastic edge that creates pressure points on your thighs and cuts-off circulation, creating discomfort and putting your legs to sleep.
A “sit-stand” desk so that you can move throughout the day depending on the type of activity that you’re doing. Changing postures has two benefits in my opinion: health and raised efficiency when doing non-focused work – think of the daily stand-up meetings from the Agile Principle and apply it to other activities such as chats/calls with peers, administrative work, I’ve even seen colleagues write e-mails or review code while standing. It can either be height-adjustable or a fixed one at “stand” height, in the spirit of raising efficiency I would go for a fixed desk at stand height: you only set it up once and don’t waste time adjusting it multiple times per day, plus you get a different perspective when working in an elevated seated position.
A sore back and strained eyes should not be health issues dominating the IT profession.
I’ve seen a lot of setups with one 34” monitor, or even bigger than this, where the screen is split in two. I’ve had a similar setup myself in my previous gamer life and I found it a bit overwhelming when trying to work: I often felt like I was watching a tennis match when I moved my head from one half to the other and even surprised myself moving back a bit to see better.
Now, based on my experience and on feedback received in discussions with people, predominantly my colleagues in the IT sector, I think that the best option would be a setup with two 20”-22” monitors fixed on monitor arms so that they don’t take too much desk space and can be moved around easily to best suit your needs, an added bonus is the ability to switch the orientation from landscape to portrait when writing code.
Adaptability was the skill of 2020… and it still is
Everybody has heard about the phrase “keep your eyes on the prize”, coaches and personal development books preach the first step in becoming more organized and efficient is to always have a to-do list and keep it visible. In the recent experience of working from home on a daily basis, I found that using my toddlers’ whiteboard kept me more alert to the things that I needed to do in comparison to the notebook I was using, simply because it was visible at all times.
Try to position your desk near a window so that you get natural light while working, this has a positive influence on stress levels, making you more focused and productive. Additionally, you get the chance to see movement outside, clear your head for a few minutes and take some short breaks without stepping away from your desk.
*Alexis Chiriac is Workspace Consultant at Corporate Office Solution and his main focus is advising companies on getting the most out of their workspace and achieving their goals through the expression of space, specializing in the IT & Software Industry.