Lockdown might feel like an (almost!) distant memory now, but home working is most definitely here to stay, with large numbers of businesses opting for a split between the office and home as the new normal. If this applies to you, and your home working space could do with a spring refresh, here's how to do it…
Don’t have a separate office area to work from? You’re not alone. But don’t let that be your excuse to make the sofa your 9 to 5 base. Instead, embrace the zoning trend that’s been taking the interiors world by storm for quite some time. Never heard of zoning? it means to separate a larger space into smaller, more intimate areas based on function. What this does is create an association with that particular space.
So, for working, you’d want to choose a corner or area of the room, and give it a clear identity separate from the rest of it. That means putting a desk and chair in an area, and keeping the likes of computer equipment, folders and paperwork in that area – don’t have work-related items scattered across the entire room. It means you’ve got a space dedicated for work and only work, which will help you get into a better mindset, and create a clear seperation between work and home life.
It’s all too easy to let things like paperwork build up, but did you know that a spick and span work space actually boosts productivity? Grab a bin bag and clear out all the stuff you no longer need, file away important documents in drawers or folders, and give the area a good dust and hoover.
Switch up your seating
If you’ve been working from home for some time now, and you haven’t invested in a suitable chair – do it now! It’s essential for proper back support and healthy posture.
Not sure where to start? Look for a chair that’s adjustable – ideally in height, width and depth. Good cushioning is essential for comfort, and you should pair a decent chair with a riser for your laptop or computer – it'll keep your screen at eye level and stop you stooping.
Seek out natural light
If possible, use all the natural light you have available to you. It'll keep you alert and improve focus, so try and position your desk and chair in a way that really benefits from that.
Never underestimate the power of decorative items in your work space to lift your mood. An ornament here, a family photo there – all will help make the space feel personal to you.
Meanwhile, plants improve air quality and look lovely. The glossy snake plant makes for a great desk companion – it doesn’t need watering often and won’t take up masses of space as it grows upwards. Or opt for a miniature bonsai, thought to aid creativity!
Consider your soundtrack
Some people find silence deafening, while others can work remotely with no background noise whatsoever. If you fall into the former category, but find the radio distracting, there are some great audio options out there that’ll completely transform your work space atmosphere, from coffee shop sounds to Tibetan bowl chimes.
3 top tips for keeping healthy while working from home
1. Try stints of standing
It goes without saying that sitting at a desk for long periods of time is bad for us. But did you know that it’s thought to slow metabolism? And make it more difficult for the body to break down fat and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar? It's also known to cause joint problems.
Thankfully, there’s a very easy solution for those of us who spend most of the day planted in an office chair. Quite simply, get moving! Even if it’s just a couple of minutes of activity every couple of hours, it all counts. Standing desks are becoming more commonplace in offices, so try doing an hour or two a day at the kitchen counter, for example. Or make that weekly telephone 121 a walking meeting.
2. Choose snacks wisely
Serial snacking can be a problem when you’re just a stone’s throw from the fridge. But opt for healthy options that’ll increase energy levels, and you can snack without sin! Sidestep the salty crisps for veggie sticks dunked in hummus, and the chocolate biscuits for a fiber-rich cereal bar. Small swaps can add up to big wins across the week.
3. Get outside for a break
It can be tempting to work through lunch when you’ve got a worklist as long as your arm. But taking a break – especially by getting outside in the fresh air – is an absolute must.
Studies have shown that just a half-hour walk is enough to boost your mood for the remainder of the day. How? Well, outdoor activity increases the body’s flow of oxygen, and raises the heart rate and energy levels. This in turn eases stress and tension. You’ll return to work happier, calmer, and with increased focus. Exposure to daylight also helps us sleep better, by regulating our snooze cycle, meaning we fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
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