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A slight sigh of relief is upon us as the pandemic finally seems to be loosening its death grip on the planet. But over a year of working from home has enlightened us to the positive nature of having a home office – no commute, no office politics, and no money spent on renting an office space. Such a space is crucial to have a setup that is both functional and comfortable. Here are our tips to get your space ready.
- Designate the place in your home: if you have a spare room, great. If not, restrict some area (preferably a well-lit corner in your living room) for the office. You can use a small rug to separate it visually from the rest of the room. Do not place it in your bedroom- it might disrupt your sleep patterns.
- Consult all the people who will use the setup: if you are sharing the workspace with a family member, consider the equipment they need. For example, if your child will use the same setup for online classes, perhaps having a bookshelf next to the computer would help.
- Lights: the right lights will help us focus and reduce eye strain. A study from Carnegie Mellon University indicates that brighter lights and daylight simulating fixtures may improve productivity. Ideally, natural light is the best option – set up near a window and use sheer curtains. Or use a white light bulb on the ceiling and a sleek table lamp- you can even find lamps whose brightness and an app can vary color!
- Get comfortable: find an adjustable ergonomic chair whose height can be varied. Ensure that it is comfortable for everyone who is using it. Add a footrest (even a box will do in a pinch) if adjustable chairs are unavailable. Similarly, a desk that elongates into a standing desk is a great investment- the human body is not evolved to sit down for long periods. A desk that provides the option of working while standing is much better for posture.
- Clear the clutter: odd ends tend to collect at desks and side tables and can be very distracting. Stowe away everything which is not immediately required for work. Ensure that you have enough space to move unobstructed. Especially if you are writing and using the mouse, adequate space must be provided for hand movement.
- The all-important internet: high-speed internet connection is required for most work these days. Ensure that your home office is in the range of your router. Have a backup in case your home wifi is interrupted.
- Hydration is essential: Make a habit of placing a water bottle next to your workstation. Get a fancy carafe and a pretty glass if it helps.
- Make it your own! Add pictures, posters, goal charts, plants, and whatever other decorations that make you happy.
- Incorporate green: colors have a profound subconscious effect on our mood. Green spaces encourage peaceful and grounded mental states. Research suggests that pastel greens are the most comfortable colors for human eyes. Another study found that it aids creativity.
There is no place like home – so let’s make our homes productive and safe for work. It’s better than spending an hour in traffic, any day.