After experiencing a Pandemic, our attitude towards working remotely was forced to make a pretty hasty shift - what all businesses quickly realised was that we, as a workforce weren’t equipped for this new way of working.
But in order for businesses to remain efficient and continue functioning as they were pre-pandemic something would need to change, and unfortunately for most, the responsibility fell on the employees and, not corporations to create a productive and healthy home working environment.
While remote working certainly has its perks, like the convenience and less time spent commuting, it can be a real struggle to stay motivated if you don’t have a dedicated workspace, devoid of distractions, something that paired with the closure of schools became increasingly difficult.
Poor working conditions over an extended period of time can be harmful to both your mental and physical health and since a massive 74% of businesses have stated that they will continue with a remote working structure in some kind of way, it’s about time to make a few changes to your at-home workspace.
So let’s take a look at a few home office essentials, shall we?
Most people are aware that trees and plants are good for the environment as they absorb stale carbon dioxide (CO4) to give out ‘fresh’ oxygen. Besides their detoxifying and aesthetic effects, the reason I love having plants in my workspace is that they tend to humanize cold and sterile-looking spaces.
If you are not a green-thumb like me, I’d advise you to look for air-cleaning, low-maintenance varieties like a Peace Lily, Spider Plant, or Pothos, all plants that are almost impossible to kill.
Nothing spurs me on more every morning than when I step into my office and see inspiring words on the wall. I have a couple of old-time favourites that have never left my space. Check out my YouTube Channel where I often show my desk space. Constant reminders of positive affirmations can make a real difference to your mindset and outlook on the day ahead.
Desinio is a great place for high-quality motivational prints, so go and check them out. Everyone gets inspired by different phrases and words, so pick something that resonates with you.
It goes without saying that the best kind of light to have in any office space, especially if you’re working during the day, is natural daylight. Natural light helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, which is linked to improved productivity, ward off sleepiness during the day, and helps you sleep better at night.
According to different studies I have read over the years, this is because daytime light is the one regulating the natural circadian rhythm – sleep-wake pattern in simpler terms – of the human body.
A footrest is a BIG necessity and that is coming from years of hard-gotten experience. The thing is, even with a good chair, there is still a tendency for your shoulder to bunch up when working on your laptop or desktop.
But when there’s something supporting or underneath your feet, you’re able to have that correct posture of sitting upright while typing on your system. Apart from this, a footrest also keeps your feet off the cold floor during winter.
I’d be hard-pressed to remember a time when I didn’t have a whiteboard ever since I started carving out an office for myself.
Many times, the jottings and squiggly lines I have on my board may look like something the military concocted when planning a surprise attack on an unsuspecting enemy. However, I love having those big diagrams there, staring at me while I sit at my desk plotting and executing my next strategic business move.
There’s something about the freedom to just simply rub things off that helps get creative juices flowing.
Sitting still for a long time, even if you occasionally stand to stretch or walk around for a bit, can be become burdensome. To compound matters, if you don’t have a good office chair, you can find yourself developing the typical back pain experienced.
It’s proven that by standing, some of your largest muscles in your body are working, increasing blood flow to your brain, hence the rise in productivity.
In order for me not to start nursing back pain, I had to wisen up and get myself a sit-stand desk – the Friska Desk in case you’re wondering which.
With it, (as I’m sure you can imagine from the name) I can alternate between sitting and standing at intervals, which has greatly helped offset some of the discomforts of sitting still for long stretches.
Good Office Chair
If you take note, you’ll see that I just didn’t put the office chair as the heading. I added ‘Good’ to it, and that’s for a very important reason. Occasionally, I’ve had the bad luck of getting an office chair, which I thought would be good for me but turned out to be pure hell for my neck and shoulders.
In fact, my back was in pain at the end of every workday. If you aren’t happy with the chair you’ve been given by your company I would highly encourage you to speak to HR or your Health and Safety department to see if an alternative can be arranged.
It is not unusual for most remote workers to have the windows of their home offices closed. While this may ward off cold or shut out the noise, it also makes the inside air stale, which can cause headaches, chest tightness, and eye irritation.
An air purifier (I personally use Pro Breeze UK) prevents this from happening by removing triggering particles such as dust, mould spores, and pet dander.
Ambient lighting is one and the same as the general lighting we all have in our homes. So whether your workspace takes up only a portion of a room or it occupies the whole room, make sure the space has sufficient lighting.
If your office is poorly lit, this can affect your vision after a period of time and that’s not the end of it.
It also affects the mood and can be extremely demoralising. At the other end of the spectrum is the harsh, glaring light. This, too, should be avoided.
I found the right balance by diffusing ambient lighting. The Philip Hue bulbs I use, which help with that.
So there goes the last of my home office essentials that have helped contribute to not only efficiently working from home but happily working from home.
I hope some of these suggestions will make working from home bearable as we ride the wave of this lockdown and the real potential of this being a longer-term affair. Please do let me know if you try any of these things and which other ones have worked wonders for you.