3 Healthy and Productive Tips for Your Work-from-Home Space
What seemed like a temporary measure of working from home is turning into a long-term plan for a lot of people. Whether you are still working every day from home or only going into the office a couple days a week, a lot of us are still trying to make working from home work for us.
Because we all made the transition so quickly, temporary quick-fix solutions were put into place. We didn’t have time to put much thought into what is the ideal work space set-up for being productive, focused and less stressed. A half a year in, it’s time to think beyond the quick-fix solutions.
We all need working spaces that inspire, encourage and support us through all the challenges of our working days. Here are the three most important considerations for promoting wellbeing while working at home.
1. Create Boundaries = Emotional Health
Working from home can mean that your work and your personal life completely merge. You feel like you can’t stop working in the evenings and you can’t resist just getting one more load of laundry done in in the middle of your work day. It’s important to create boundaries between your work life and your personal life.
Ideally you would have an office in your home where you can shut the door to outside distractions and leave at quitting time. That’s not an option for everyone. If possible, try to work at a desk that is only for work. If this is in your living room, use an area rug to create a boundary that separates this space from the space where you relax.
A great idea for desks that have to be integrated into an existing room is to use a piece of furniture that can be closed up when not in use. A local Bad Homburger is offering a great product which is a modern take on the traditional roll-top secretary desk. They are flexible desks, with integrated power, lights and wireless LAN, that can be easily opened up for working and closed again at the end of the day. Inquire for more info here.
If you have to work at the dining table, keep a rolling cart nearby so you can clear away your things when you stop working.
2. Connection to Nature = Immune Boost + Productivity
It’s been scientifically proven that a connection to nature, including natural light, fresh air and plants, not only makes us healthier but also makes us more productive. The good news about working from home is that we probably have more control over these factors than we do in the office.
Preferably you would work in a space that has plenty of natural light and windows that not only open, but also look out onto a beautiful view of nature. This can greatly increase your energy levels and focus at work while at the same time reducing stress. Release of serotonin (the happiness hormone) is enhanced by sunlight. Looking at nature, whether right in front of us, through a window or even in a picture, eases pain and stress.
Whether you have a view of nature or not, you can surround yourself with plants to connect to nature. There are plenty of easy-care plants that thrive in sunlight or complete shade. Artwork with nature scenes or botanicals can substitute for the view.
If you have to work in a space without natural light, use “daylight” bulbs that have the look of natural sunlight. And be sure to take plenty of breaks outside and in lighter parts of your home – no breakfast and lunch at your windowless working space!
And by the way, pets provide all those benefits of nature as well. Lucky you if you’ve got a furry friend curling up nearby while you’re working.
3. Your Desk Chair = Physical Health
I can’t even count how many people have told me they have developed neck or back tension over the past months because they have been sitting at their kitchen table working from home. If you sit for many hours a day it is incredibly important to pay attention to the correct height of your chair and its relation to the desk or table. You can find a handy online calculator based on your height here.
We all see these beautiful photos with a designer dining chair used a desk chair, but unless you’re only occasionally sitting down there, it’s a bad idea. I have made this mistake myself, so please learn from my experience. I bought a lovely desk chair that fit perfectly into the design of my office. It could swivel but its height could not be adjusted. After months of working for hours a day on this chair I developed tennis elbow on my arm that uses the mouse. I was sitting too low at the desk. Once I switched back to an adjustable, ergonomic desk chair the elbow pain started to get better immediately.
In addition to your chair, the angle at which you are looking at your laptop can be putting a lot of stress on your neck or encouraging you to slouch. You might want to consider using a separate screen or placing your laptop on top of something to increase its height for the sake of your neck and back.
I hope this provides some inspiration for ways to take your home office space to the next level and increase both wellbeing and productivity while you work.
If you want to chat with me about making home office choices that are healthier for you, reach out here for a consultation.
*feature image is from Real Simple