The home office is becoming the hardest working room in the house. While the study has been a common feature in Australian house plans for a few decades, with increasing numbers of professionals taking advantage of home wifi, the demands on the space are a lot greater. Architectural and interior designs are being put the test like never before and home-workers are looking for clever ways to maximise their productivity without stepping outside the front door.
Create the right environment
For the everyday person making a living from their laptop, creating a workspace that will enhance focus and limit distraction will pay dividends. Some prefer to get expert advice from the outset consulting practitioners of Vasu Shastra or Feng Shui. Both of these traditions have helped people achieve harmonious homes for centuries. Through their specific teachings you can understand how optimise the energy of the space with furniture arrangement, materials, colour and ventilation.
Invest in equipment
It almost goes without saying, but quality equipment will make anyone’s work day easier – hassle free to use and limiting strain on the body. Strain injury and musculoskeletal disorders such as lower back pain are widespread health problems with huge costs to the economy – and to individual finances. Avoidable strain injuries are commonly caused by poor ergonomics in the office. Investing in a supportive chair and a good desk with settings that can be adjusted to your body’s specific requirements will go towards maintaining strong back health. Even if you are working in a home office, safety is paramount.
Get out to get work done
It may sound counter intuitive, but to keep focussed throughout the day (and help produce quality work), it is important to get out of the office and exercise. On a cold, wintry day when a pleasant stroll is impossible, you still need to make the effort to look after your body. Get up from the chair and go for a 30 second walk around the house once or twice an hour. This increases blood flow around the body, giving a quick energy boost to the brain. If you regularly work from home, make the most of lack of supervision by ducking out for day time gym session. Or, get 10,000 steps in by by walking to a local cafe for meetings or just to pick up a coffee. Taking brief walks before and after work and at lunch time, weather permitting, will brighten your outlook and help your brain concentrate when back at the desk.
Grocery shopping takes on new importance if you are working at home. Filling your fridge with nutritious food can help you avoid the temptation to binge on ready-meals or treats laden with sugar or salt. At home, with the freedom to walk into the kitchen at any moment, don’t use food as a distraction. Keep soft drinks, biscuits and such out of the house until the weekend. Instead, enjoy making quick lunch time meals on the stove. This is one of the unsung benefits of working at home, having access to your own kitchen rather than eating plastic wrapped takeaway on the run.
Personalise your office
When you are spending eight hours a day in the home office, your sanity will thank you if you make the room personal and inviting. Start by selecting a paint colour that promotes focus. Blues and greens softened with grey are popular hues for their calming influence. Bringing nature indoors makes a measurable psychological improvement to working life as well. All you need to do is open the window to let in fresh air and buy some plants such as succulents or ferns to reinvigorate a sterile office with life. As a final touch, decorate the office with meaningful, decorative objects. A paperweight, a vase, throw rugs or a statement teapot are simple pieces that let your style shine through.
The ubiquity of wifi connectivity has revolutionised how we work, and more importantly, where we work. With more individuals choosing to work from the comfort of home, they need to take on the role of the facilities and HR manager and consider how they will create the working environment to form the basis of their own success.