setting up a home office: tips and ideas.
As students and workers start shifting from schools and offices to home, your house may start to feel a little more crowded, and with even more distractions than usual.
If you don’t have a proper and dedicated workspace at home, you may have to settle for the common areas such as your living room or dining table. However, it is challenging to get some work done in these common areas as it can be very difficult to focus. Your child could waddle in to get your attention, your pet may want to play catch, or your household members may see it as an open opportunity to have a chat when they’re on their short break.
The best way to minimise such distractions is to dedicate a part of your house as your office space, one where you can focus with minimal disturbance. The best location for a home office setup is a spare room or your bedroom.
7 things every home office should have
1. work desk
Some of us grew up reading and doing work on our beds. But that habit is bad for our back and eyes! You’d want a sturdy work desk that is big enough for all your work necessities such as a notebook, pen holder, laptop and a lamp. If you’re an analyst or a video editor, you may even want to make space for two monitors.
Bear in mind the size of the room and the amount of free space you have to work with. If the table is too small, you won’t have enough space to work on. If it’s too big, then you’d find yourself knocking over things and accidentally injuring yourself.
You may also want to get a mobile pedestal that fits nicely underneath the desk. It saves space and you can keep important and confidential documents in it. You can also stow your laptop away in the mobile pedestal after work, so that you would not be tempted to power it up again after dinner. Work-life balance matters, even if you are working from home.
2. power strip
The basics often slip our mind. You’ll need at least two power sockets to keep your laptop and smartphone charged throughout the day.
Make sure that your work desk is near a power socket or extended power strip so that you don’t have to keep moving around to charge your devices.
3. ample natural light
When given the option, always choose natural light. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that people who work in environments with natural light recorded higher levels of energy than those in artificially-lit workplaces. Natural light also reduces eye strain, which not only promotes healthy eye development, but also leads to improved productivity.
Natural sunlight provides your body with vitamin D and helps with bone growth. Your body will also learn to be accustomed to the natural timing of sunrise and sunset, which can lead to improved sleep quality.
Just 30 minutes of natural sunlight a day is enough. So make sure that you draw your curtains and keep your windows open to let some sunlight and fresh air into the room as you work.
4. green plants
Purifying plants such as aloe vera and bamboo can help change the air quality. Clean air lowers your chances of falling sick and feeling fatigue.
Besides improving your health, plants can ease your anxiety and stress, which would create a sense of well-being at home. As plants need to be watered and cared for once in a while, they also give you a good reason to get up and take a break from work.
There are also studies that greenery plays a factor in improving our ability to focus. Attention restoration theory or ART, claims that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature, or even looking at scenes of nature. The colour green is also often associated with growth, harmony and freshness, which would help calm you down after a stressful day.
5. posters and quotes to motivate you
Plastering one or two motivational posters on your wall could also uplift your mood. Try not to choose images that are too ambitious, such as the moon or a mountain, as it may let you feel like it is impossible to reach your goals. Instead choose an image that is more realistic and achievable, such as pictures of your dream travel destination or a list of monthly goals.
If your work desk is not facing a wall, upload these images as a wallpaper or screensaver on your laptop and smartphones.
6. noise-cancelling headphones
It can get quite noisy working from home. It’s easy to lose focus when the kid starts crying or when the dog starts barking. Some of us who have a shorter attention span may even get disturbed by the cries from a koel bird or car horns from a nearby street.
Invest in a good and comfortable pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Headphones can help you focus better as it is less likely for you to be distracted by noises. If songs with lyrics distract you, create a playlist of instrumental music or lofi beats to improve your ability to focus. You can also purchase a pair of headphones with an in-built microphone to ensure better sound quality from your teleconference calls.
7. hand-held massaging devices
Sitting down for a prolonged period of time with a bad posture can do some serious damage to your shoulder muscles and spine. It’s also very painful if you’re going to bed with a sore back.
There are health benefits that come with massages. It helps improve your mood, as receiving a massage releases endorphins, which are a “feel good” chemical that your body produces naturally. You’ll also have better sleep quality, as your blood pressure and stress levels are usually lowered after a good massage.
Since many of us live in an apartment, it is not likely for us to have enough space at home for a massage chair. Instead, you can purchase a small hand-held massage device that targets your shoulders and back. If back massages are not your thing, we understand. Perhaps get a facial roller instead. It’s easy to use, compact and helps reduce facial muscle tension.
you can be happy and productive working at home
Working from home is not a new concept. Prior to the pandemic, many companies have already offered it to a select group of workers or as an employee benefit for the wider organisation.
However, because of how COVID-19 is being transmitted, shifting the workforce from the office to home can help save lives and alleviate the stress on our healthcare systems. Many of us are probably doing this for the first time and are unprepared for this change in environment.
Take your time when you create a workspace at home. The process not only helps you explore your creativity prowess, but can also be equally therapeutic. Besides making it aesthetically pleasing, make sure to protect your data and hide confidential documents from your family and housemates.