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WFH like a pro: Top tips for the best home office set-up

Here’s how to make the most out of your workspace to benefit your physical and mental wellbeing.

By

Ameira Yanni

|

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Your workspace can have a huge impact on your well-being and productivity. So, we’re sharing a two-parter to give you the top tips on making your workspace work for you, whether you’re at home or at the office. 


First, let’s chat about all things WFH.


The Low-Down

Many of us have been working from home for the past few years, or are now working in a hybrid format. It’s becoming increasingly clear that we need to make a proper home office environment. Or, at the very least, a desk space that doesn't double up as a sofa. 


Your posture will be better, you’ll find it easier to concentrate and you likely won't feel as stressed. Having a separate room for your home office is a luxury. But, there’s plenty that can be done to build healthy habits when working from home. 


Location, Location, Location

Let’s start with the basics: Where you choose to work. Sitting on a sofa all day is so bad for our backs and posture. And, let’s be honest, it’s hard enough to draw the line between working and relaxing! Find a spot in your home that’s separate from a lounge or bedroom area. Even if you turn your back to the TV, or use a specific seat of the dining table as a desk, it’s important to associate that place with work and work alone. 


Set-up

Not sitting properly causes back pain, headaches, fatigue and poor concentration. Wherever you’re working, having a decent desk set-up is super important. Your chair, especially. There’s no need to spend a fortune, but your chair needs to be comfortable and supportive. A good chair provides proper support, which relaxes your muscles and mind. 


Consider placing your laptop on a stand. It’ll raise your screen to eye level, preventing eye, neck and back strain. They're inexpensive but make a huge difference.


Lastly, try to make your desk or workspace somewhere you enjoy looking at and being near. Add some desk plants, photos, a treat jar, anything that brings you joy and motivation. I have my home desk by a window for some natural light and have photos of my dog on the desk, too! Enjoying your workspace will make you more productive and positive. 


Take Time For You 

We’ve gone through how to separate your workspace and your living space, but now let’s go through ‘work-free’ zones. If your desk is in your living room, make a pact that you’ll never do work on the sofa, or in your bedroom, and so on. Having work-free zones helps to break the 'at work' mindset and allows you to enjoy your free time. 


Designating those work-free zones goes the other way, too. It’s as much physical as it is online. Try not to use your workplace comms for social chats. You won’t be able to switch off from work fully – it may become more stressful than enjoyable over time.

Obviously, one thing that’s tricky with working from home is not having those micro-breaks when you chat with your co-workers. A great solution is implementing an app like Tahora. Through it, you can easily chat with your colleagues, separate work comms from social comms. Plus, it cultivates a more positive workplace culture and makes work that little bit more fun!


Move Around 

Staying sat down, staring at a screen all day, is mind-numbing and it’s awful for your physical health. People with high levels of sedentary time have a 112% increased risk of diabetes*. And, sitting for too long can add to the static load on our muscles, preventing good blood circulation, which can lead to heart problems. 


Make sure your desk set-up isn’t contributing to those risks by doing the following:

  • Stand up from your desk and walk around every 30 minutes
  • Walk to your kitchen to get yourself a drink
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk, maybe even go for a walk outside
  • Stand up during a meeting/call
  • Move your bin away from your desk, every time you have to use it, you will have to get up and walk around!
  • Move your phone away from your desk if possible. You'll have to walk to it if you need to make a call


These seem like small solutions, but they make a crucial difference to your physical health and help to keep you more focused. 


Structure

A good routine is fundamental to having a healthy home office. If you usually get up at 7am because you have an hour-long commute, try to get up at 7am on your work-from-home days. You can use your would-be-travel time to sit down and have a good breakfast, do some exercise, or even spend a bit longer getting ready. 


The same applies to the end of the day (especially at the end of the day). It’s so easy to hop back to your laptop and finish that one task or send that one message. Finish work when you usually would; don't try to duck out early and don't stay too late. Having a set daily routine will make you more productive, less stressed and will allow you to enjoy your free time more. 


With all of that in mind, we should be able to make the most of our workspaces and create positive, healthy work cultures this year. Who knows, you might find yourself more productive in your new WFH set-up than you ever were at the office!


[1] Alcaidinho J. The Importance of a Good Office Chair [Internet]. Apartment Therapy. 2011 [cited 2020 Oct 16]. 

[2] Brewer J. The dangers of sitting all day | Nuffield Health [Internet]. www.nuffieldhealth.com. [cited 2020 Oct 16].