Your mood, your back, your mental health, your productivity – there’s too much at stake to do home desking half-heartedly. If you’re a convert to working from home, these small hacks can help you perfect your office setup.
Make sure your desk posture is healthy
Get your setup right and you’ll be protecting your back and spine health for years to come. Whether you’re sitting at your kitchen table or you have an ergonomic office chair, the principles remain the same. Your feet should be flat on the floor (use a footstool if they don’t reach), your elbows should be at 90 degrees, your monitor exactly at eye-level and your lower back fully-supported.
From there, listen to your body and make small tweaks to your office setup. Wrist starting to hurt? An ergonomic mouse, or a gel cushion can make all the difference.
Save your eyes by adding light to your office setup
Working from home might feel like a welcome respite from harsh office lights, but home offices often have the opposite problem: too little light. That’s likely to cause eye strain, and even start to affect your mood as the days shorten.
The perfect light setup for a home office has two parts: first, an ambient light, like a ceiling light or large floor lamp to bathe the room with an even glow (try to make sure all corners of the room are lit). Then, a brighter, more focused light – like a desk lamp – to draw your eye to your desk. Cooler bulb colours (5,000K~6,500K for photo buffs) are proven to help with focus, too.
Nerd out on stationery
So what if no-one needs a hole punch in 2022? Good stationery is stationery you have immediately to hand, right when you need it. By having a fully-stocked desk, you’re saving yourself panic down the line. And you’re sending your brain subconscious signals that you’re sitting in a place of work, which can help with focus. If there’s anything you can even remotely imagine needing, have it tucked in a drawer at the ready. And stationery can be fun – consider picking up a personalised notebook, or swapping the classic neon highlighters for a trendy pastel set.
Keep things clean with the right tools
Keeping surfaces free of dirt, dust and crumbs both protects you from germs and restores a sense of calm and order. It also makes home feel like a professional environment which can help with focus. Seep's Multipurpose cloths are perfect for dusting down at the end of a workday, plus they’re made from natural materials rather than polluting plastics. (Also, make sure to line your home office bin with Seep's 10L Bin Liner too, not only are they 100% compostable but they look good too!)
Treat yourself to a home massage
A sad truth: even with your elbows at 90 degrees, your monitor exactly at eye-level and your lumbar fully-supported, you’re never going to be completely free from back and shoulder tension if you’re at your desk all day. If you find yourself craving a massage to loosen up that tension, you can rejoice knowing they’re now super easy to book at home in just 60 minutes if you live in the city.
The Urban app has over 15 styles of stress and tension-busting massage to choose from. Simply choose a treatment, choose from thousands of qualified therapists and set a time and place (perfect for syncing with your lunch break). They’ll bring the table, just make sure you have some towels handy.
If you’re struggling with more severe physical health problems brought on by working from home, like RSI or sciatica, the Urban app also offers at-home consultations with expert osteopaths, who can find and treat the root cause of those problems
Cancel out noise
Noise-cancelling headphones are useful, but it’s not ideal wearing them non-stop through a whole workday to block out unwanted noise. Thankfully, there are some basic DIY solutions for soundproofing your room which don’t include sticking egg boxes to the walls. Try:
- Placing bookcases next to walls
- Adding one or two more pieces of heavy furniture
- Hanging some pictures
Those changes won’t stop roadwork noise if it’s just outside your window, but they will help to dull sound waves as they find their way into your room, taking the edge off barking dogs and distant sirens.
Have a place to escape to
You might have noticed how modern office setups have comfy spots dotted around for people to disappear off to. There’s a simple reason for that: sometimes you do your best work when you have a change of scene. If you have space, setting up a separate, slightly comfier place to sit and power down on work can really come in handy when you need a fresh slant on things. A bean bag or a big, squashy armchair works, just limit the amount of time you’re sat there to a maximum of 90 minutes if you’re in a slouched position.
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