With studying and working from home becoming the new normal we thought it was the perfect time to look into how to create the perfect home office. Whether you are studying, working or taking this opportunity to learn something completely new, a well set up home office can make all the difference. We talked to our Human Resources Director Katy Camidge for her top tips on creating the perfect home office.
The equipment you need will depend on your studies or your job but one of the most important items in any home office is the chair. You’ll be spending a large portion of your day sitting, so ensuring this is safe and comfortable is vital. You also need to be sure that your chosen area is big enough for you to work comfortably with the equipment you need.
When you work at a computer for long periods, you need to ensure that you’re using your equipment and sitting in a way that minimises risk to your arms, back, hands, shoulders or neck.
Reduce the risk of injuries by:
- doing a DSE workstation assessment
- using your workstation correctly;
- taking regular breaks from the screen;
- adjusting your chair height to fit your workstation;
- taking 5-10 minute screen breaks every hour;
Appropriate stationery can also make a real difference to your workspace. Use folders and document wallets to stop the spread of paperwork and a work planner can help cut down clutter and focus your attention.
There’s nothing more frustrating than losing work or struggling to follow an online meeting due to a dropping internet connection. Make sure your home office setup is in an area with a secure Wi-Fi connection or in an area where you can hardwire your setup if necessary. You can check the internet speed in your chosen area with websites or apps such as Speedtest.
Where possible, separate the personal and professional areas in your home. Try not to have your work in the same room in which you sleep and relax. This will help you chill out on your downtime and increase productivity during work hours. While we’re self-isolating, this can also help to minimise distractions from other people in your home. If you’re isolated with people who don’t have the same commitments as you, they can become a huge distraction so (politely as possible) try to work in a separate room from them.
Working in natural light is best for your eye health and your attention span. Where you can, work at a desk close to glass doors or in front of a window; you’ll undoubtedly feel the difference.
Where natural light isn’t possible, or if you need to work during darker hours, you’ll need to invest in additional lighting. Household lighting generally concentrates on the centre of the room but most home offices will be set up against a wall. Make sure you have lamp close by to cut down on eyestrain. As well as this, you can also add dimmers and blue screen filters to your PC, laptop or smartphone to cut down on light that can harm your sleep patterns.
Personalise your space
Although you don’t want a cluttered workspace, a touch of personalisation can help to make you more settled. Plants are a perfect addition to a workspace. Pothos, aloe and jade plants are an ideal choice as they remove toxins from the air, are easy to care for and thrive in lower light situations.
Another popular choice is to hang some art close to where you work. Whether that involves inspirational quotes, beautiful scenes or something completely abstract, if it helps you feel more comfortable, it’s a worthy addition to your home setup.
Pictures of friends and family can also make a fun addition but make sure multiple pictures don’t begin to clutter your space.
Check behind you
With more meetings taking place online than ever before, we’re all getting an insight into each other’s homes. This can be great fun…until you realise your laptop’s faces the bottom of the stairs and your partner has just wandered down in their dressing gown mid meeting. It’s also time to move your favourite tipsy night out photo. Check what’s behind you and make sure people that are sharing your space can work around you and that you aren’t accidentally sharing something you shouldn't be.
Optimise your isolation time by following our top tips for studying from home.