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5 Tips for a Healthy and Productive Home Office

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BY LOGAN PERANAVAN

Now that many of us are working from home, our kitchen tables are disappearing under
piles of work clutter. The tyranny of time zones has resulted in us becoming intimate
with our kitchen benches and subsequently undergoing a flurry of frantic tidying up
every morning as other family members try to use this shared space.

Anecdotal evidence suggests businesses are in no hurry to send their management and
staff back into the office. Across a range of industries, companies have put in place
work-from-home policies, including relying on Zoom video conferences.

Many staffers are thriving in their new working from home environment, whilst others
are struggling to adapt to their new remote working routine.

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Here are our simple tips for transforming your home office into a healthy and productive
workplace.

1. Create Your Own Comfortable Oasis

One of the priorities in any productive home office is to ensure it is comfortable.As with
any office space, you should consider ergonomics, storage and efficiency. Think of it as
a lifestyle decision. Modern home office designs combine ergonomically efficient
furniture with the latest technology.

Personal touches are an option providing they don’t contribute to office clutter,
while strategically positioned plants are now de rigueur as an attractive backdrop and
contribute to making your office feel comfortable and welcoming.

Secondly, increase your home office efficiency through the strategic use of storage.
Every home office space needs plenty of practical storage. Keeping your desk clutter-
free will minimise distraction, keep you organised and make working easy.
Having your content at your fingertips is essential in keeping up a steady flow of
deliverables. We found a pile of company heritage content was on videotapes,
audiotapes and even 8mm film stock. We took advantage of digital technology to
transfer our VHS to DVD.

This has two advantages: 1. your old content will now be just a mouse click away and 2.your aging content will no longer be at risk from the depredations of dust and mould.

Next, invest in a well-designed desk with matching under bench or overhead cupboards.
A whiteboard,a pinboard, open shelving and filing cabinets completes the list of storage
necessities.

Identify what materials you need each day to do your work and tuck everything else
away in under bench or overhead cupboards. Office supply companies now offer a wide range of colour-coordinated trays,files, folders and desktop storage units to give your
home office that individual relaxed yet professional feel.

2. Location, Location, Location

Interruptions and distractions are the banes of any office workspace. They inevitably
killyour productivity. Look for a quiet place with sufficient, preferably natural light. And it
doesn’t necessarily have to be a room. Some find working at an outside table or a
balcony is the perfect solution!

If you’re working inside in a home office, limit the amount of clutter you keep on your
desk. Stick to the items you use most frequently during your working day. Sentimental
or decorative items are best relegated to a shelf where they will be out of the way while
remaining in your line of sight.

3. Furniture

A desk you once only work at for a day or so each day can feel very different when you
fill in a full day behind it. Your desk is one of your main productivity tools. Ergonomically,
your desk should be at elbow height.

Increasingly, many of us working from home are finding a free-standing desk a great
addition to any home office layout. These are especially suitable for elongated rooms or
placing against a long wall space. Their length provides ample working space and there
is plenty of room for storage drawers or cupboards underneath them.You’ll also find
standing is better for your spine than sitting all day.

As you’ll be spending a lot of time in your home office, choosing a comfortable chair is a
critical decision. Look for one with great lumbar support. If your back is killing you and
you are constantly fidgeting to get comfortable, it’s going to be hard to get through a
solid day’s work.

4. Natural Light and Even A View

Every home office needs good lighting. Look for a location with natural light and even a
view where possible. Place your desk to face your windows or in a spot where your
screen won’t be affected. Blinds can reduce glare without making your room dark and
gloomy.

Overhead lights complemented by floor or desk lamps will provide all the light you need.
If a view is out of the question,place your desk facing a favourite piece of art. Every now
and then, you need to rest your eyes and focus on focus on something other than your
work.

5.Embrace Home Office Technology

Now we all find ourselves hanging on Zoom video conferences from home, you should
seriously look at upgrading the speed of your Wi-Fi. Patchy Wi-Fi is the bane of a home office. If you’ve ever hosted a team Zoom video conference over an unreliable Wi-Fi,
you’ll know what I mean.

You need a fast Wi-Fi system that can blanket your home. That way, you can work
where you want, when you want without worrying about your Wi-Fi dropping out.
Once you’ve sorted your Wi-Fi and got past the desk and chair issue, next you should
ensure your laptop is up to scratch for the Zoom age. Before coronavirus pandemic
invaded our working lives, a laptop was all we needed when working from home.
However, as our home office rapidly becomes our main office, increasingly our 13-in.
laptop display isn’t helping productivity.

Explore the larger monitors out there at now at increasingly affordable prices.These
units are large enough to support multitasking. A comfortable mouse will do wonders for
avoiding cramps in your hand and forearms. Similarly, consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi-
enabled printer.

We’re all spending way too much time online in Zoom meetings to put up with dodgy
image or sound quality. Do you really want your audience to hear every keyboard stroke
or mouse click your make while online? Videoconferencing also begs for a good quality
camera, microphones and headphone.

That sorted, ask yourself do you need access to a whiteboard, a cork pinboard or a
reference library in your home office to do your work?

Final Observation

Increasingly, we need to rethink our home office. Instead of a makeshift workstation, we
need to view them as a permanent place of work. Subsequently, we need to embrace
good design and technology to ensure our home offices are productive, healthy or
happy places to work.

 
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1 COMMENT

  1. Here are a few tips that I followed ever since the epidemic started.
    1. Do not work in your bedroom. Often I find myself sleeping instead of working when I’m in the bedroom. I recommend you move somewhere that has a desk, good lighting, and no bed.
    2. Set a schedule. This is very important. You should keep a clear schedule to track your progress. My colleagues and I use Quire to collaborate on our projects. This helps us assign individual tasks to different people and also check if the progress is going well. It also has reminders so that we can know clearly when the deadline is.
    3. Start work the same time you would normally enter the office. This helps you maintain your original routine, and also stop you from slacking off.
    4. Take breaks. Taking breaks help you clear your mind and stay focused, I usually take a break after two hours of working non-stop. I would go make a cup of coffee, let my dog out to the backyard, or throw a few hoops before I get back to work.

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