Updated: Oct 13, 2020
We tend to talk a lot about leadership, OKR and ways of working to build high performing teams in our blogs. However this week, it's time for a change!
Given the astronomical rate of people working at home nowadays, we wanted to explore some evidence-based ideas to optimise your workspace for better health and productivity.
According to an analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in three Australian workers regularly work from home. The number has risen dramatically from 20% to 30% in the last 15 years. Moreover, 1.3 million Australians reveal that they chose to work from home either to spend more time with family, to take advantage of flexible workplace arrangements, or to focus on childcare. In any case, work-life balance is usually the main reason for the increase in remote work setups.
The benefits are rewarding indeed, but as remote employees spend more time in their home offices, they start to feel and see an imbalance in the form and function of their makeshift workspaces. The challenge lies in balancing function, comfort, and aesthetics, making the problem quite hard to solve. Experts, however, urge remote employees to listen to their bodies.
Oftentimes, people are able to determine their needs based on areas of body pain. Medical experts also reveal that musculoskeletal disorders are often work-related, usually caused by staying in an uncomfortable position for hours at a time. This leads to restricted work time, as health is compromised. With this in mind, it is important to develop a working space that is healthy, comfortable, and productivity-inducing.
Here are three key tips for designing your home office:
1. Bask in light—the right way
The average worker is estimated to spend seven hours a day in front of a computer screen. Although productivity is often linked to brighter workspaces, the glares produced by the computer monitor causes harm. Notice how you squint a lot after three hours of working?
This is intensified if you work directly in the light. Without knowing it, you strain your eyes even more by situating yourself directly by the window. Experts advise workers to direct light away from their line of sight, usually by utilising light from the side windows instead. If you work at night, use supplemental light from a desk lamp.
2. Find the perfect chair and desk
Not everyone will have the budget to renovate their entire home office—and that’s fine. You absolutely do NOT have to mimic those makeover shows you see on TV. Instead, you can start by buying the perfect chair. For this, professional interior designers discourage people from buying anything right off the shelf, as well as buying chairs online without trying to sit on it first. It’s best to visit your local store for such an important piece of your home office.
When looking for the chair, ensure that each component is adjustable. You will also want to make sure that there is enough lumbar support, comfortable armrests, and adjustable seat height. Even then, ensure that your purchased chair comes with a warranty, one that will enable you to return or exchange the chair should you start feeling any aches and pains.
When you’ve found your chair, your next option should be to find a suitable desk. Unfortunately, most desks in the market are already fixed in height. Such desks lead to back pain, even with a good chair. Most people find switching to an adjustable desk makes all the difference, so plenty of workers are investing in one for their home offices. Also, you might want to consider purchasing a standing desk, as it’s currently all the rage here in Australia.
3. Invest in work accessories
With a good chair and an adjustable desk in hand, you’re all set! But don’t think the process of revamping your home office is over. As you slowly transform your home office into one that supports maximum productivity, why not check out the following accessories:
Adjustable stand for raising your laptop screen up (check out Nextstand!)
External keyboard and mouse (these are essentials for ergonomics)
Stool to perch on (to reach those documents placed on high shelves)
A padded wrist rest (to keep Carpal Tunnel Syndrome away)
Anti-fatigue mat (for standing as you use your standing desk!)
Working from home or remotely is a trend that many experts believe that will continue to rise. Though not everyone is prepared for the “new normal” and the working from home set-up, we hope that you can use these tips as a quick validation list that sets up your home office to be a safe and productive environment.
If you would like to learn more about other work-from-home essentials, you should check out our friends at MOVI Workspace. They specialise in creating a healthy, and more productive work life. It’s been a godsend for us since moving to full-time remote working!