The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates that around 50% of the UK workforce will be working from home by 2020.
While remote working gives employees the opportunity to forge a work-life balance and spend more time with their family, it also presents the dilemma of creating a home office.
We asked the experts at Office Principles for their opinion, and they told us to prioritize health and avoid distractions that will impact productivity. So, once you’ve identified your workspace, the next step is to design a home office you can work in without damaging your long-term health.
Invest In Ergonomic Furniture
Specialists say that sitting in office chairs for long hours can cause back pain or worsen existing back problems. Sitting for hours a day applies pressure to your spine and builds stress on the neck and shoulders.
You can avoid the potential for posture-related issues later in life by investing in an ergonomic chair that has sufficient support for the spine, neck, and shoulders.
You may also want to think about investing in ergonomic accessories such as a footstool or wrist pad that you place in front of your keyboard. The best seating position is to keep your eye-line level with your computer screen and your arms and legs at 90-degree angles.
Light and Air
Studies have also shown that natural lighting provides the body with nourishing vitamins and good air quality is good for cognitive function and mental health.
Light also has an impact on your general mood, so if you are fortunate enough to have a spare back bedroom with a large window, this would be the ideal place to set your home office.
However, you should think about where you position the desk. Too much direct sunlight can impair your vision and bright sunny days will create a glare on your computer screen or rebound off shiny, white paper.
Ideally, you don’t want to be sitting next to a window with a view looking out on the street as this can create distractions and hinder productivity. The same applies if noise from outside comes in through an open window.
Plants are an excellent addition to improve the air quality of the room. They also bring character which can completely change the dynamic of how your space looks and feels.
Be Smart With Your Space
Space can be a real issue when designing the perfect home office. Remote workers that do not have a spare back room, or only have a small room to fit in everything you need to do your job can be particularly challenging.
Overhead shelves and tall narrow bookcases resolve some issues with the space economy. You may also want to consider a corner desk and corner filing cabinets to create additional storage space.
Our friends at Office Principles also suggested keeping storage space flexibly. A wall shelf with multiple compartments doesn’t require a lot of room and enables you to compartmentalize files, books, stationery, and folders where they are easy to find and accessible.
Finally, paint the walls in lighter pastel colors as they open up the room and make it feel more spacious. Brighter colors also help to brighten your mood.