Working from home is more popular than ever. Even when the restrictions of the pandemic are completely gone, around 92% of people in one study said they plan to work from home at least once per week. Another 80% said they believe they’ll work from home half of the time.
With countless companies now embracing “hybrid” work strategies, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending more time in your home office. Fortunately, around 65% of people feel more productive when they’re working at home, and many of us believe we have a better work-life balance this way too.
However, to get the best results, you do need to invest in your environment.
Here are some quick tips to creating a more comfortable space for working at home.
Create a cozy desk space
First, you’ll need a desk and chair for your time spent behind a keyboard. Notably, simply working from your sofa is rarely the right choice. Not only does it fail to give your back and neck the right support for long periods of typing, but it also blurs the lines between your work and personal lives.
Focus on finding a chair with plenty of spine support and cushioning for your head. You need armrests to keep your arms at the perfect height for typing too. Consider whether you want a reclining chair, or a chair with a footrest, to help improve circulation.
If you’re worried about staying sedentary all day, consider a standing desk so you can move around and stay active while you work. Consider investing in a convertible desk, so you can raise your tabletop to standing height when necessary and lower it when you need to sit down.
Prioritize a Great Connection
There are few things more frustrating than trying to get work done from home, only to suffer from a slow, or unpredictable internet connection.
There’s a good chance you’re going to need to upgrade your internet to suit your new home working routine, so ask yourself, what kind of speed do you need?
The ideal internet connection for you will vary depending on the following factors.
- Number of people: How many people are working or learning from home at once? The more people sharing your broadband, the greater your bandwidth will need to be to cope.
- How you’re using the connection: Video calls, large file downloads and uploads require more speed and bandwidth than simply checking your emails.
- Reliability: If you can’t afford to lose connectivity for even a minute, it might be worth getting your own dedicated connection to keep speeds high.
To see what broadband deals are available in your area, enter your postcode into a broadband checker.
Speaking of the stress of dealing with a suddenly lost connection, it’s worth having a backup, just in case. Mobile broadband can be a handy fallback if something goes wrong with your broadband. A tethered smartphone is fine in a pinch, or some providers will offer home broadband with a dedicated mobile data backup, (just in case).
Grab Crucial Equipment
With your chair, desk, and internet connection all ironed out, it’s time to start filling your home office space with some other essentials.
For instance, a great monitor which you can comfortably use for long periods of time (around 8 hours a day) is crucial.
You should select a monitor that’s got enough screen space for your work, but which is also a suitable size for your desk setup. A small monitor could be uncomfortable if you’re sat far back from it, but you don’t want to be sat too close to a huge display, either.
In general, a 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 2560×1440 (1440p) will suit most home workers, offering plenty of screen real estate without being too overwhelming. Ideally, look for a monitor which uses ‘IPS’ technology, as this provides a very sharp display with excellent colour accuracy and brightness.
Consider using a second or third screen to help spread information across multiple surfaces when you’re designing, coding, or researching.
You can also use monitor arms to give you more flexibility when it comes to positioning your screen.
When choosing your screen, remember to perform a thorough DSE assessment, and ensure you’re protecting your eyes. Exposing yourself to long periods of screen time can lead to strain, headaches, and dry eye issues over time. Consider tools like F.lux to automatically change the colour temperature of your screen and keep your eyes healthy.
Other equipment options to consider include:
- Keyboard and mouse: Focus on something you can comfortably use all day. (A separate mouse and keyboard are usually a good idea when using a laptop)
- Arm and wrist support pads: These will reduce your chances of wrist strain.
- A webcam and microphone: These will be crucial for your video conferencing sessions. The webcams built into laptops can be sufficient, but a standalone camera will usually offer a significant improvement in picture quality.
Add Light and Nature
A practical home office is great, but you’re not going to do your best work in a space that feels drab, dreary, and depressing. Your space needs to feel inspiring to be truly comfortable, so make sure you’re filling it with plenty of natural light.
Studies show workplaces with plenty of natural light deliver up to 40% improvements in productivity levels. Light will also help you to feel alert and focused, while improving your circadian rhythm (so you sleep better at night).
Adding some greenery to your space can be helpful too. Plants are natural creativity boosters and can improve productivity by around 15%. What’s more, exposure to greenery in your day-to-day life can significantly reduce your stress levels!
- Manage the Clutter
Finally, to make sure your home office space stays as comfortable as possible, try to avoid letting it get too messy and cluttered. Excess cords and cables can get in the way when you’re trying to stay productive and make it more likely you’ll end up tripping over something.
It’s also worth throwing away any extra mess you don’t need in your office. Don’t use the space as an area for storage as well as work. A cluttered office really can lead to a chaotic mind.
Remember, pay attention to what’s going on in your background too. While most VoIP apps have features to allow you to blur or replace your background these days, it’s much easier to simply have a clean backdrop to work with.
Stay Comfy at Home
Working from home doesn’t have to be a headache.
Building a comfortable home office will ensure you can work efficiently and productively while you’re at home, without the additional stress. Follow the tips above, and don’t be afraid to add your own flair to your office, with photos, art, and decorations too.