Making the move to working from home permanently can feel like a challenging feat if you don’t know to create the perfect space that fosters happiness and productivity. But it can become an exciting project to immerse yourself in once you have the know-how – so we’ve put together some advice on how to build an effective and comfortable home workspace to set you on the right path.
Choosing the perfect space
The first (and arguably most important) step in creating your perfect home office is choosing the right location. If you have a larger home you’ll have more places to choose from, but ensuring that you can find a quiet part of the house where you can avoid distractions is essential.
If you don’t have the space in your home for a dedicated office you might have to get creative. Look around your home for unused space, such as the corner of your bedroom or a narrow hallway. These spaces can be used to create simple, cosy office nooks and are often away from the distractions of the living room or kitchen. If you’re incredibly tight for space, you should consider floating desks, which can often be folded down when you’re finished working to maximise space.
It may seem like a wonderful idea to swap WFH with WFB – working from bed - but this can affect your health and productivity negatively. Working while in bed practices bad ‘sleep hygiene’ as it leads your brain to associate being in bed with wakefulness, rather than rest. Decreasing the quality of your sleep ultimately decreases productivity, the amount of energy you have, and the overall quality of life. Not to mention that working whilst lying down is an ergonomic disaster!
Also, if you’re sharing your home with others, be it a troupe of hyperactive toddlers or a housemate who’s learning how to play the drums, it may be worthwhile creating a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign to remind your housemates that you’re in work-mode, rather than home-mode.
Natural light is key
One of the most impactful home workspace recommendations is to ensure that your desk is placed close to a window. Natural light can hugely influence your mood, so it’s definitely worth prioritising this if you can. Several studies have found a significant positive link between natural light and productivity, energy levels and general happiness. This is because daylight helps your body stick to its natural circadian rhythms.
Investing in the right office furniture
If you don’t already have one, an ergonomic office chair is a must. Ergonomic chairs protect your neck and back from injury as they are built to combat the strain on the discs in your lower back. When choosing an office chair, look for one with adjustable arms so you can align your forearms with your keyboard to reduce repetitive strain injuries on your wrists. If you need to purchase a desk too, search for a sturdy adjustable desk. Investing in the right ergonomic office equipment will keep you alert, healthy and productive during your working hours.
It's also worthwhile to think about organisational tools for your office. ‘Organised mess' is fine if it works for you – just ensure that it actually is organised. Buy yourself some handy paper dividers to pile onto the corner of your desk and a set of drawers to store away other office equipment such as stationery and USBs.
Personalise your set up
Working at a desk that feels impersonal and devoid of character can leave you feeling disconnected. Personalise your workspace to keep you more engaged and creative while you work. This could be as simple as adding a pop of colour or a framed photo of your loved ones to make you feel at home. It makes sense that if you enjoy the space you’re working in then you’ll have more reason to want to be there, and this will inevitably have a knock-on effect on your productivity levels.
Add some plants
Adding a few houseplants to your workspace has more benefits than just aesthetics. The American Psychological Association found that people with plants in their offices had 15% higher productivity rates than those without. Plants can increase feelings of relaxation and happiness, while also promoting a healthy and productive work environment.
Some plants have been proven to improve air quality by removing toxins from the air. We recommend peace lilies, snake plants and spider plants for this purpose (plus they’re very low maintenance).
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