As more people freelance or work from home, it’s more important than ever to have a home office that supports your health and productivity while still being pleasing to the eyes. When your workspace is ergonomic and health-focused, you’ll be able to get a lot more work done with less mental and physical stress.
This might seem complicated but it actually comes down to just five major things. Read on to know what the five basics of a healthy home office are and how to achieve them.
1. Let the Light in
For improved general well-being, increased productivity, better health, and reduced eyestrain, natural light in a workplace is a must. If you don’t have a window or work in a basement, consider installing a skylight or a daylight-replicating light source. For late work nights, a desk lamp that is easy on the eyes is your best friend.
Then, there’s also the color temperature of the light to consider. Warmer colors are safer for the eyes and will keep you comfortable and relaxed. In comparison, blue to white cool lighting can keep your mood up and boost your productivity.
To get the best of both worlds, I recommend going for a yellow warm overhead lighting paired with a blue cool task lighting.
Finally, it’s important to minimize glare to avoid headaches and eyestrain. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow.
- Do position your workstation at a 90° angle from the window.
- Do block out direct sunlight with vertical blinds for east/west-facing windows and horizontal blinds for north/south-facing windows.
- Don’t use a desk or table with a shiny surface.
- Don’t put your monitor directly under the overhead light fixture.
2. Pick Your Furniture Wisely
Use a combination of the right furniture and position them properly for comfortable and pain-free hours of work..
The most important piece of furniture is your money-making throne. Get an ergonomic office chair that has many adjustable components so it can support you properly. Your chosen chair should have the following features:
- Adjustable armrests
- Height-adjustable backrest
- Robust tilting mechanism
- Good lumbar support
- Depth-adjustable seat with waterfall edge
Then, complement your supportive office chair with a desk or table that’s suitable for your height. Not only will you have enough leg clearance under, the right desk height will also help keep your neck, shoulders, and wrists at a neutral position.
3. Go Green
If there’s one accessory you need in your home office, it’s a plant. This touch of green will make you more productive, more alert, less stressed, and have lower blood pressure.
Aside from their soothing presence, plants also have the ability to improve the air quality, keep the room temperature a bit cooler. You don’t need a lot of space or money to bring greenery into your home office. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Channel your inner artist and recycle beer cans, mason jars, and plastic bottles into DIY indoor planters.
- Jazz up your lunch with a sprig of rosemary from your very own mini herb garden.
- Opt for low-maintenance, nearly indestructible indoor plants like Chinese evergreen and peace lily.
4. Cut Down on the Noise
Nothing can ruin work focus more than a sea of noise and distractions. This not only hampers your productivity, it can also stress you out.
The best thing you can do, of course, is to remind your family that it’s your work time. You can also use noise-cancelling headphones.
In terms of the decor and design of your home office, here are some things you can try to minimize the noise.
- If you have enough budget to do a remodel, install sliding glass doors to let the natural light in while still keeping the noise out. It will also help you keep an eye on your little ones.
- For a more low-budget option, you can get a degree of privacy by portable screens or dividers.
- Use a bookshelf as a divider to help filter out the noise while also solving your storage problems.
- Install air filters and low fans to create some white noise to muffle distracting sounds.
- A small fountain will give your home office a soothing ambience while also creating white noise.
- Dampen outside sounds by adding more plants to your home office.
5. Consider the Psychology of Color
Harness the power of color psychology to decorate your home office. Colors have the ability to affect you both physically and mentally so take advantage of this to improve your work.
Choose a combination of the following colors depending on what you need.
- Blue with neutral colors and orange accents promotes productivity, focus on repetitive tasks, and orderliness. It also reduces mental strain.
- Add some touches of red to your room if your work requires you to be creative, mentally alert or physically active.
- Yellow decorations will help you boost your creativity and attention level while also helping you retain information.
- A splash of orange to your home office will stimulate both your mind and body. It will boost your energy, keep your creative juice going, and help you stay motivated.
- If you work long hours, green is the best color for you since it stimulates the mind while being easy on the eyes.
- Light blue, pink, or green can make your work more comfortable and relaxing. Blue is refreshing, pink is warm, and green is full of vitality.
- Brighten your spirits with colors like yellow, orange, and pink.
Once you’ve found the perfect color scheme for you, paint your home office, add decors, and buy furniture that fit it.
As the pandemic ushers in the WFH trend that may be here to stay for a long time, it’s imperative to start redesigning your home office for the long term, and putting health as the top consideration in any design changes.