Many of us have had to pivot from a traditional office to a work-from-home set up this year, and while there can be advantages to working from home, having a dedicated space for work can feel impossible to create. Hunching over your laptop on the kitchen table works in the short-term, but chances are, many remote jobs are here to stay for a while. Luckily, just a few simple and affordable upgrades can improve your work-from-home experience dramatically, helping to improve both your productivity and happiness!
Here are some simple ways to improve your work-from-home office:
Add a Plant
One of the biggest differences between working from home and going to an office is that you no longer have to commute. This saves time and stress, but it also means you're less likely to spend time outdoors. Nature has powerful health benefits (not to mention it’s a wonderful mood-booster!), so be sure to take frequent breaks to go outside if possible. You can also bring a piece of nature into your home office by adding a houseplant! Plants significantly increase workplace satisfaction, levels of concentration, and air quality. Plus, they're beautiful to look at! Some easy-to-care-for indoor plants that are also pet-friendly include the Chinese Money Plant, Spider Plant, and Peacock Plant.
Improve Your Indoor Lighting
Just like your plant, you need sunlight, too! In addition to taking frequent breaks outside, try to work near a window, so you get exposure to natural light throughout the day. It will help your mood, productivity, and sleep.
You can also improve your home office by making sure to add high-quality artificial light. A dimly-lit room can make you feel drowsy or depressed and leads to eye strain. Try swapping out your warm home lamp bulbs for some bright LED bulbs. While you’re at it, get a cute lamp that brightens up your space!
If you spend a lot of time at a computer, it's important that your back and neck are properly supported. Ideally, aim to get a converting desk that lets you alternate between standing and sitting. There are also converters you can place on top of the desk or table you already have at home. You'll feel more comfortable and get more work done if you can switch up your work position throughout the day.
Also, keep in mind that your forearms should be nearly parallel to the floor when you're typing, and you want your screen to be at eye level - about 20-30" away from your face. Get a monitor stand to raise your desktop computer, or prop it up on a stack of books. If you have a laptop, put it on a stand, then use a separate wireless keyboard and mouse to keep your back from rounding over your keyboard.
Upgrade Your Chair
A comfortable desk chair makes all the difference! The Herman Miller Aeron Chair is one of the best chairs around, but it's an investment piece at $1400. If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, there are plenty of cheaper options to choose from! You can also try converting the desk chair you have at home by getting an extra seat cushion or attachable lumbar support.
One of the benefits of working from home is that you can make your workspace entirely yours - so have fun with it! Set a candle on your desk, hang photos that make you happy, or add pops of bright colours to your walls. This will help you feel more relaxed, alert, and creative.
Many jobs also now require virtual video calls, so be mindful of what's behind you while you're at your computer. If you need a better backdrop, consider getting a room divider screen - this can also give you more privacy if you're sharing a space with others.
These easy adjustments will make your office space an enjoyable oasis, so you can show up and be your best at work, even from home!