Many of us spent most of 2020 working from home. Some had to make do with the kitchen table or even the sofa, whilst those more fortunate got to put their home office to good use. Not everyone has managed to nail working from home though, so if you’re still working from home, or are planning on returning to the office soon but still doing a few days from home, our easy tips will help you to up your home working game!
1. Choose your working location wisely (don’t make it the sofa!)
Physiotherapists warn against the perils of working on a laptop on the sofa. Although a sofa my seem like it’s the obvious choice in terms of comfort, spending 8 hours a day on the sofa peering down at your laptop can lead to posture problems.
Sofas are designed for relaxing on, which means they provide minimal support and next to no real lumbar support. The position you sit in on a sofa can throw your spine out of alignment and using a laptop can lead to the shoulders being rounded and the head bent down, all of which can cause pain, particularly if this is repeated day after day and week after week!
Physiotherapists, therefore, recommend ensuring you are seated on something that provides appropriate support for your spine. If you don’t have the luxury of a home office or the space to add a desk and chair to a room in your home, then using the dining table or a laptop table is preferable to working from your lap, and ensuring you put a pillow behind your back or using a lumbar support on a dining table chair will all help.
For more advice on posture and looking after your back whilst working from home, take a look at how working from home is ruining your posture.
2. Remove distractions
Our concentration naturally wavers throughout the day, with a well-documented slump in both focus and alertness taking place around early to mid-afternoon. Your environment has a big impact on how focused you’ll be throughout the day though.
It stands to reason that a noisy environment with lots going on will make it difficult to concentrate – which pretty much describes the typical family home! If you don’t have a separate space to work in, remaining focused can prove a challenge.
Moving a desk into the bedroom might not be ideal from a space or aesthetic point of view, but if you don’t have the luxury of a home office or a room designed for work-only, then this might be a better option than the kitchen table or sofa slap bang in the middle of the busiest locations in your home.
Regardless of where you set up your working form home base, don’t be tempted to put the TV on, even if you’ve only got it on in the background and aren’t fully paying attention it can still draw your attention away from the task at hand. Put the radio on by all means or pop on a podcast, but don’t be tempted to dip into housework or get involved in other aspects of household management and family life if you can help it!
See more of our working from home tips.
3. Replicate your usual work office environment
Although you might be relishing getting away from a drab office, there’s a reason why your desk at work is set up the way it is. The way your office design is organised will allow you to keep everything that you need close by, so you could find that replicating your usual office set up as closely as possible could help you be more productive when working from home.
4. Turn your workspace into somewhere you want to be
Some people are more aesthetically driven than others, but even if you’re not too fussed about what your work environment looks like, making it work for you can make it a nicer place to spend time in.
Giving your home office space a facelift can work wonders for your morale so think carefully about things like storage space, colours, lighting and decorative accessories. A splash of colour, some new artwork the walls and improved storage space really can lift your work environment and don’t forget the importance of natural lighting.
Bringing a bit of greenery into your working space can help in terms of wellbeing too. Why not take a look at our top tips for a happy healthy office here.
5. Keep your workspace tidy
Let’s face it, here in the UK the average family home has shrunk rapidly since the 1970’s and are now on average 20% smaller. With less space, it means rooms can quickly become cluttered. A messy room really can play havoc with your wellbeing and can provide a distraction too, making it harder to focus and more likely you’ll take longer to locate things you might need to do your job efficiently.
With this in mind, whilst a clear desk is never a good thing for creativity, making sure you have a good amount of clear space around you can help improve workflow. Don’t get into the habit of cluttering up your workspace, even if your home is small and space is at a premium. Instead of popping things down on your desk or the table you work at, make sure your workspace is kept clutter-free and tidy.