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Although working from the dining room table sounds like it would be better than working from the sofa, there are too many inherent risk factors for it to work well as a desk.

  1. Height. Dining room tables are higher than office desks and their height is not adjustable. The standard range for desk heights is 72-75 cm.  Even a desk at the low end of this range is too high for many people and unless they raise their chair and add the necessary foot support, the result is tension in the upper back and shoulders.  Dining room tables are usually 77 or 78 cm high, putting them outside the maximum height range for a desk for even a very tall person. 

Your dining room table was never intended to be your primary workspace.

2. Leg Room. Recommended features for a desk include adequate room for your legs. The table legs on your dining room table might determine where and how you sit and might not allow you to centre yourself at your laptop or place your feet on the floor below your knees.

3.  Multi Purpose.  Whether you live alone or share your home with other people, the dining room table is intended for purposes other than work and this limits your options for arranging your desktop. For example, it is not appropriate and maybe not even possible to put a sit-stand solution or a hinged monitor arm on your dining room table.  It is best to have a dedicated surface for your home office, just like you had at work.

Spotted in the wild

4. Disincentive to use an office chair.  Are you really going to want an office chair at your dining room table?  Do you have room in your dining area to be switching chairs all the time?  The temptation to just use a dining room chair is going to be very great.

5. Lighting.  Your dining area lighting was chosen for atmosphere and mood.  Workspace lighting should be a lot brighter than mood lighting to prevent eye strain and posture deterioration as you struggle to see your screen.  Also, try and remember that a window, if there is one, should be at your side. Light behind you causes glare on your screen and light in front of you causes glare on your eyes.

6. Productivity.  You can’t share a workspace that should be intended to maximize your productivity.  How productive are you going to be if you have to clear your work every time the family wants to sit down to dinner? Your workspace should be set up with your metrics and needs in mind.  Having a dedicated work space is key to improving productivity when working from home.

In Conclusion

Your dining room table was never intended to be your primary workspace. Whereas it might have sufficed for a few weeks, if you are planning to continue working long hours from home, your workplace must meet the unique demands of your body and the nature of your work.

You may not be ready to make changes to your home workplace, but you can begin right now by paying attention to your body. Remember, you are the center of the story. Your workplace must be designed to meet your needs. Otherwise, you will rearrange your body to meet your workplace. Never good.