So, here we are. Sharing our time happily between our workplace office and home office.
Many of us have embraced the flexibility and convenience of working from home on a regular, if not permanent, basis. But the truth is that our home office set-ups often fall a bit short. They’re usually not as comfortable or convenient as they should or could be, and may not have even moved on from lockdown days.
Now that you’ve got a bit more time, let’s look at three ways you can improve your home office environment.
Where’s the best work from home desk position? Obviously, where you can put your desk is impacted by the amount of room you have available, and whether your space is multipurpose, or if you have a dedicated area – complete with a door!
If you have a natural light source available, then positioning your desk to face it or sit at a perpendicular angle is ideal – and your eyes will love you for it. However, if you have no choice but to have a window behind you, invest in window treatments to diffuse (but not block) the light so you don’t have to battle screen glare.
Easily distracted by the outside world? Then place your desk facing a wall or in a corner. But if you do a lot of video conferencing and don’t routinely use digital backgrounds, consider having a wall behind you to block out background movement, glimpses into other rooms, or views of ready-to-fold laundry.
If you’re space compromised but have rock-solid concentration skills, you can always line up your desk behind a free-standing couch where you may typically have a console table – but only if you’re sure you can resist watching TV!
And if clients routinely visit your home office, then consider the principles of Feng Shui and place your desk in the ‘power position’ by angling it at the back of the room and facing the door to optimise room flow. As an aside, placing your desk on an angle is also said to promote creativity.
While we’re talking desks, if you’re still using a makeshift workstation, it’s time to move on. Investing in a right-sized office desk (check out standing desks too!) and an adjustable swivel chair will make working from home more productive and sustainable. Your back, ankles, and eyeswill thank you too.
Now you’re committed to working from home regularly, don’t short change your personal need for comfort and style. Your home office should be an extension of your overall décor style, so it looks deliberate – not makeshift. That feeling of permanency is more conducive to productivity and focus.
Upgrade your office from spare room status. Choose wall colours that you can live and work with, and furnishings that are better than just ‘functional’. Splash out on some greenery too. If you don’t have a green thumb or rarely remember that plants need water too, choose some fancy low-maintenance succulents. There’s also no shame in investing in a good quality artificial plant either. We won’t tell.
As well as a proper desk and chair, consider the other equipment you need to run an efficient home office.
If you’re starting from scratch, a laptop or computer and a monitor (or two) are essential. And high-speed internet access is a given, as is a surge protector. If you are 100% paperless, then go you. Otherwise, a small printer – and a stand for it - should be on your list as well. You may also want to invest in a paper shredder to ensure business confidentiality, and a compact filing cabinet.
If your space is windowless, or you like to burn the midnight oil, then an articulated desk lamp is essential to dispel shadows and alleviate eye strain.
Got noisy neighbours or other intrusive household noises to contend with? Noise-cancelling headphones are a blessing. You can opt for blissful silence or your choice of music to obliterate the sound of suburban lawnmowers, city traffic noises, or children’s TV.
And since you’re likely missing out on your regular flat white from your favourite workplace café, then perhaps now’s the time to treat yourself to a decent at-home coffee machine. (We’re pretty sure that qualifies as essential equipment).