Working from home can bring a lot of benefits, but when you’re responsible for your own working space it can be very tempting to skimp on the essentials. All too often, people who work from home end up crushed onto an uncomfortable chair in a dark corner of the family room with noise and fuss going on all around them.
Luckily, there are lots of small changes which can be made which can make surprisingly big differences to your working conditions.
I for one need to focus on these a little more, as I go into my second year working for myself.
Below, I explore a few aspects to be aware of when setting up the ideal working from home environment:
Having poor light or a total lack of light is a very common home office mistake. You need lots of natural light to stay productive, so being jammed into a dark corner or having to use a poor quality lamp to be able to see what you’re doing isn’t going to be the best working environment if you want to do your best work and maximise your productivity.
The lighting in any room can completely change its dynamics, so if you work early, late or in a dark space, you need to find some LED floor lamps which will illuminate your work-space perfectly. LED accent lighting behind the desk is another excellent touch which will make your home office feel more welcoming at night.
The Right Desk
There’s no point in trying to do your best work on the kitchen table! You need a properly designed desk which has everything you need to get the job done. Not only do you require plenty of surface space on which to place your files and your computer, you also need some drawers and cabinets for storage.
You don’t want to spend ages searching for items because you have no dedicated space for storing anything. There are lots of desks available which have a range of designs to suit your needs. Even if you only have a small workspace there are still desks out there which come fully equipped with everything you need to be comfortable and productive.
When I first went self-employed, the thought of sitting at home in a nice home office environment filled me with happiness. But what I didn’t look into was the lack of support I’d be giving myself with the whole desk to chair to laptop ratio. I mean, I just used a standard desk chair from IKEA for the first year, which meant when I popped my laptop on my desk (which was quite a low desk) I found myself slumping over to work on my laptop. If I was to keep that up, my posture would be taking a turn for the worst!
The image below from Titan Wear gives a good example:
Not many people think about supporting their posture during ‘sitting’ times, but posture braces can really help with this. They are designed to support you when it comes to retraining your posture, reducing stress, assisting with pain and preventing early joint and muscle pain.
If you work from home, it’s worth investing in quality support wear, because you’ll never have that luxury of a HR or work well-being team that can check your desk set up is correct for your health. You have to be responsible for it yourself. Posture braces encourage better breathing, flexible joints and muscles, digestion aid, improved circulation and also mentally make you more aware of any stooping shoulders.
A Comfortable Chair
Following on from the above, a poor quality chair is one of the leading causes of back pain in sedentary workers. If you spend most of your time working sitting down, it’s time to think about investing in a new ergonomically designed chair. This is especially important if you regularly suffer from back problems, since you will require lumbar support and lots of adjust-ability to suit your individual needs.
If you’re currently sitting on an old kitchen or dining chair, it’s time to restore it to its original use and buy a dedicated office chair which has been designed specifically for the purpose. In general, the more adjustable the better, so look for one with arms, lumbar support and back that can be adjusted to fit your preferences.
You should also look for a rolling base designed for use on carpet if necessary so you won’t be stretching too far to pick up items from the back of your desk. A breathable fabric is also a good idea to cut down on sweat and discomfort if you’re working in your home office on warm days. If you get your choice of chair right this can help decrease pain so you can work harder and get more done without suffering.
You’ll need some high quality equipment when you work from home. It goes without saying that you’ll need the right computer to meet your needs. After all, if you’re using one which is too slow or lacks memory you’re just going to get frustrated and stressed. If you need to upgrade your laptop, it may seem like an expensive addition to your office, but this is an investment which is well worth the money and will pay for itself in terms of your productivity.
Follow these top tips and your home office will soon be back in order. These are only small differences however they can completely change the way in which you work so get started on putting these changes into practice and reap all the benefits that a comfortable and welcoming home office can bring. You’ll wonder why you didn’t take these tips on board sooner!