Enhance Your Work From Home Space With These Essential Steps
If you haven’t invested in enhancing your work from home space by now, it's not too late. Take a look at these easy yet essential steps.
Thanks to the last 2 years of the pandemic, our home office spaces have gone from being an afterthought to being the central location in our home 9 am- 5 pm most weekdays.
Even as the economy unfurls from its multiple lockdowns, we’re still determined to keep the benefits of a more flexible and hybrid work from home model. Many of us may still combine or alternate working from home with the commute to an office.
Your work from home space is therefore worth investing in, for the long term.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can make simple changes to make your home office no matter how big or small. Create a haven of productivity!
Why You Need a Dedicated Workspace
Your Body Needs It
As tempting as it may seem, working from a sofa and your bed is a sure-fire way of introducing future back and neck pain into your life!
You can start with our Milla Function Plus Desk in Oak especially if all you need is a simple surface for your laptop.
Your Mind Needs It
You will also need a dedicated space to help you separate your home life from the working day such that a psychological mini-commute occurs each time you get settled at your work-from-home-desk.
It’s about creating a mental distance between work and play.
Conversely, you may get too distracted in the kitchen surrounded by people or in the living room within easy reach of Netflix on the big screen.
Even if you have no choice but to have your home office in your bedroom - invest in some storage units or desks with drawer space. This will allow you to pack away your devices and their cables out of your line of sight.
Help your bedroom return to a stress-free sanctuary, once your ‘Commute’ is over.
You Need a Staged Backdrop
In a world of Zooms, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and live-streamed webinars - some of us need a dedicated space with a suitably professional-looking and tidy, backdrop.
This could begin with a simple decluttering of the room, building and arranging bookshelves in the distance, or mounting artwork on the walls. For some, this is a personal branding issue too.
A simple series tall standing bookshelf like the Milla Oak Shelves would be a flexible portable way of creating a functional office backdrop. Especially when you combine several shelves in a row.
Your Equipment Needs Storage
Most homes will also need a printer and even a scanner now for the odd official fax. This combined with other equipment calls for more surfaces and storage space.
Mounting shelves is an ideal bespoke solution to maximising the tight space you already have.
Alternatively, a low set of bookshelves at table height can function well for equipment like printers and scanners such as our Basic Milla Oak Bookcase.
How to Pick the Right Remote Working Spot
Pick a WIFI - Friendly Spot
It’s all about the WIFI folks! Make sure you are located somewhere within decent coverage and not too high in the attic or deep in a basement without some kind of booster in tow.
Some of us have amped up our broadband capacity at home when we combine the varying demands of homeschooling, streaming and live broadcast virtual events. We suspect this is a long term investment that you will never regret.
Make It Private and Soundproof
You should ideally have a spot that can be sealed and shut off from the rest of the noisy household.
If you have a guest room or even a spacious den in a smaller home, cordon off a corner of the room as your dedicated space. Consider building a temporary room divider or shelves to block oFf your corner.
How to Manage Lighting in your Home Office
Natural Light is Best
Should you have the choice, give yourself a location with access to plenty of natural light. It will make you feel more energised, motivated and is generally better for your sense of wellbeing.
Did you know research shows that workers who get more exposure to daylight sleep better, are less stressed, and are more active during the day? It has a direct impact on our internal chemistry.
Stage Lighting for Those Virtual Meetings
However, a room flooded in natural light can also get in the way of a virtual meeting. Positioning yourself with your back to a big bright window will not serve you well in this scenario.
A set of blinds or simple curtains combined with a mounted ring light will be the perfect compromise allowing you to moderate the natural glare behind you during meetings.
Task Lighting at Your Workdesk
The illumination from your desktop screen should be a sufficient form of task lighting device-wise.
If you have a desk lamp do make sure that you do not place the table lamp right next to your monitor. The competing light sources and possible glare onto the screen will be stressful for your eyes.
With this in mind, ambient lighting with a warmer glow emanating from another part of the room will create a sense of warmth and well-being whilst reducing the relative glare from your screen.
If you are writing and reading without a device, you will need an adaptable table lamp that focuses on your workspace and not directly into your eyes. Any excessive glare will affect your eyes leaving you headachy and sore.
Alternatively, borrowing a standing lamp and placing it next to your desk gives some flexibility in terms of lighting your workspace from above.
How Are You Positioned at Your Desk?
Stay Efficient. Stay Safe. Keep it Ergonomic
A good supporting chair is always worth investing in when it comes to keeping your back in good nick.
You may elevate your laptop so the screen is no longer lower than your eye level by mounting it on some books or building an angled elevated platform from some leftover plywood. This can help you avoid the repetitive strain on your neck and shoulders when bending your head downwards.
Your work surface is deemed the correct height if, when you sit up straight, your forearms are running parallel to the ground and your wrists are not bent up or down when you type or use your mouse.
For ergonomic workspace advice for a digital world, we found this excellent Computerworld article: How to set up a WFH ‘office’ for the long term
For more professional advice from the healthcare professional, take a look at the HSE Health and safety tips for setting up your workspace at home.
DIY Standing Desk Ideas
Some people may prefer standing desks that support better posture and overall fitness. Standing keeps your back and neck in alignment as your standing desk prevents you from having to crouch and bend over your keyboard.
A makeshift version can be created by mounting your device on an even higher platform made with some plywood, but there’s more than one way to build a DIY elevation for your laptop.
You could convert an existing bookshelf (by removing a few upper shelves) or convert a high dresser into a standing desk by removing the drawers.
If you can mount a decent shelf - you could mount a sturdy corner table against the wall at standing height.
Handy with a drill and a saw? Take a look at these 11 DIY Standing Desks hacks.
Cultivate A Sensory Landscape To Keep You Creative
Having dealt with the functional aspects of your workspace, you’re now ready to take care of the more creative side of your working environment
Not having to work in a standard office building has its benefits. You’re free from the dull uber branded corporate colour palettes, synthetic materials and nose pollution of humming machinery or HVAC systems.
Use this freedom to add colour and personality to your workspace. This could take the form of a visually stimulating mood board for mounting ideas and inspiration.
Why not paint a feature wall in a bright colour for a dopamine hit to the brain?
Does Your Home Office Smell Right?
What about the other senses?
Install an aromatherapy diffuser infused with euphoric or citrus scents to keep you mentally stimulated and refreshed.
Build a ‘Sound’ Working Environment
For some, ambient instrumental music playing in the background can help concentration. Bach or Jazz depending on your tastes can help focus those of us who find silence unnerving.
Go one step further and create a work from a home playlist that is tailored to help you settle into the right mood for work.
A Tactile Work Space
For some tactile help, add some soft furnishings like a blanket for winter and an extra bright cushion.
A soft rug underfoot can also be extremely comforting especially when barefoot at home.
Working from home also means there’s no limit to the amount of fun stress relieving toys you can bring with you to the desk!
Health and Safety in the Workplace at Home
For the sake of safety be sure that you are located near a socket or invest in a new power socket and decent multi adaptor.
Too many electrical devices working at once in your part of the room or house does run the risk of short-circuiting your area. Consider bringing in an electrician to examine the electrical load and wiring needs of your new set-up.
If you are handy do spend some time chasing the multiple electrical cables neatly against the wall to reduce the trip hazards.
Greenery is Good for your Home office
There are so many reasons to bring plants into your workspace.
They’re a natural air purifier, to begin with! In addition, some houseplant species are more efficient than others at cleaning the air.
Plants have been proven in the prevention of workplace illness in several studies. Their general presence has a psychological effect by reducing stress and the colour green is even associated with being mentally conducive to learning and thinking.
How Does Your Remote Workspace look?
There you have it! A simple step by step guide to making a practical sustainable difference to your work from home space.
Why not take a look at our latest Milla Range of Home office and Furniture products for easy additional storage and desk options?
Have you successfully made some changes to your work-from-home corner, renovated an old room into a home office or made an extension? We would love to hear your advice and stories