Having lived through a pandemic for over a year now, most of us have gotten used to working from home. At this stage, we all know what works for us, especially the importance of good furniture and its direct impact on our well-being.
COVID-19 has also forced us all to take a hard look at our work dynamic, triggering a fundamental debate which questions whether we can work exclusively online or if we need a physical workplace. Either way, the trend of working from home is sure to continue to at least some degree. Obviously, this leads to a whole new set of considerations when it comes to defining the workplace.
With the notion in mind that working from home could very well become a part of the “new normal,” we need to turn our attention to the physical and mental environment at home. As many of us already know, it is crucial to create a happy and healthy home office. This includes establishing a suitable set-up for your home office and giving importance to both your physical and mental well-being. A decent workplace is critical in order to restore productivity in work from home situations.
A proper setup also ensures improved productivity and concentration levels whereas, in contrast, an improper set up can adversely affect health and work life. According to a study by UpRight and Ernst & Young, up to 75 percent of members of the study were more productive when practising better posture, which was attributed to having better ergonomic furniture.
The advantages of carefully choosing the right furniture for an office space are not limited to the home environment. If you are an employer, you may want to re-consider the furniture you have in your current office in order to better cater to the working needs and well-being of your employees. Doing so could be a positive way to welcome them back as they begin to return to the physical space.
General set-upTrying to figure out where to position your desk, chair, and other work furniture and equipment is one of the first things you need to consider whilst composing your home office. If you live by yourself and you don’t have much space, your living / dining area could be an easy place to convert into your home office. However, if there are other people in the house, you would need to ensure fewer potential distractions. Therefore, if possible, try and select a room that is more private than a living or dining room and that others might frequent less.
Aim to set up against a calm background such as a wall, since while working from home you may be required to attend quite a few video conferences! Try to set up in a well-lit room. Having a window on the side of your workplace will ensure good natural light for your space, without disturbing your screen visibility. Daylight will not only brighten up your space, but also helps significantly in making you feel more energetic and motivated. Otherwise, ensure you have additional overhead lights in the room or use table lamps.
It can also be very beneficial to add indoor house plants to your office space. Plants can boost your productivity, reduce tension, elevate concentration, improve the ambience, and enhance creativity. They have also been proven to improve your mental and physical well-being. Plants will add colour and vibrance, inevitably making your workplace far more aesthetically pleasing and cheerful.
1. Comfort & postureWhile selecting the furniture for your home office, try to incorporate as much room for adjustment and movement as possible. For instance, opt for a sit-stand desk that you can adjust the height of, or a computer monitor arm that lets you adjust the position of the screen to your eye level. If you are working on your dining table for example, and have no space to place a desk, there are furniture solutions that you can add on top of any table surface to transform it into a standing desk.
Healthy posture can also be encouraged by opting for a comfortable chair for your home office. A chair with a good quality backrest and adjustable height, arm rests and lumbar support would be best. Incorporating this kind of furniture will help in reducing backache problems which you might otherwise face. Make choices about your home office furniture with the long-term in mind, as it has a significant impact for your physical well-being.
2. Efficiency & spaceIf you have limited space and / or prefer working in your living / dining space, you should opt for furniture that can be tidied up easily and has efficient storage possibilities. This will allow you to swiftly regain your dining table to eat dinner on with your family, or to simply reclaim your home space over the weekend without the constant reminder of work.
Choosing furniture that you are able to fold up and store easily when you are done working may be a functional option if this applies to you. Consider volume and weight, and lightweight items are that much easier to manipulate. This will ensure that your multifunctional space operates well and that there isn’t constant clutter around your home / home office.
3. Fitness & healthWhile working from home, you might also miss out on exercise. The day goes by before you know it, and if you do take a break, time is often high-jacked by little house chores here and there. Also, since you are working from home, the walk / travel to and from your office is eliminated and with it the exercise that it provided (even if it was only a 10-minute walk!). In this case, it is imperative that when you work long hours, you incorporate some movement into your day.
If you are limited on time, why not choose to multitask and exercise while you work? You could try an exercise ball as a chair or a treadmill under your desk. Doing things like walking during a call could mimic a sort of “virtual walking meeting” and would subtly improve your physical health without requiring any additional time!
Employers take noteThere are many other home office furniture ideas to consider beyond those mentioned above, including innovative solutions for storage and smart designs for adapting to small spaces! Flexibility, movement, and multi-functionality are the most important things to consider. In fact, the ideas mentioned above can even be included in collaborative workplaces.
If you are an employer looking to improve the office space for your employees once they return to work, try and incorporate ergonomic, good quality furniture. This will not only ensure the well-being of your employees, but also provide playful solutions that allow them to vary their work dynamics. Office furniture plays an important role in creating an efficient, positive and healthy work environment for those using the space.
Invest in a good home office for your wellbeingA major portion of our adult life is spent working. Considering the time and effort that goes into your typical working week, a good working set up is absolutely necessary. Especially in the light of the recent pandemic, in which working from home and staying safe is of utmost importance. But this should not come at the cost of your health and well-being. Whether your challenges are due to limited space, distractions at home, or anything else; investing in the creation of a good home office will undoubtedly improve your working life!