Home Business Insights & Advice Setting up a home office

Setting up a home office

by John Saunders
29th Aug 22 12:26 pm

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us switched to working from home and a significant number of people have continued to work remotely, with the latest figures suggesting that the average worker in the UK now goes into the office just 1.5 days per week.

If you’re one of the many people now hybrid working, then you’ll need a home office space that is both practical and comfortable to aid your productivity and help you keep your work-life balance in check. Here are some tips on setting up a home office.

Creating a workspace in your home

As tempting as it may be, working from your sofa or even your bedroom may not be the best idea. Working in your pyjamas might seem manageable and even novel in the short-term but longer-term, working in bed can cause issues as it blurs the lines between relaxation and work. This can result in sleep problems and can also lead to musculoskeletal problems, like back and neck pain, and headaches.

Instead, you should try and find a specific area in your home that you can turn into a workspace. If you have a spare room, attic or shed, then these spaces are ideal for creating a home office that’s separate from the other areas in your home. If space is limited, then an alcove or quiet corner can also work well.

A fitted home office can help you make the most of your available space to create an ideal home working environment. The main thing is that the space can accommodate you and any equipment you need and that it’s somewhere you’ll be happy to spend a significant portion of your day.

The desk

Ideally, your desk should be around 29 inches from the floor to the top of the work surface, although if you’re particularly tall (or shorter than average) you may need to adjust accordingly. Make sure your desk has plenty of surface space for your computer, laptop, keyboard, mouse and any other equipment you might need to use on a regular basis. To maximise storage, choose a desk with drawers or shelving to help you stay organised and keep your desk surface clutter-free.

The chair

A good chair is another essential for your home office. You’ll be spending a lot of time in it, so you need to be sure that your chair is ergonomically designed and will adequately support your back and neck as you work, if not, you may suffer from aches and pains.

Height-adjustable chairs are ideal as they allow you to easily adjust your chair to ensure that your laptop or computer monitor is always the right height. This helps you avoid eye or neck strain and means you don’t need to over-exert your wrists to type, which can lead to repetitive strain injury (RSI) or even carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS.)

The set-up

Taking care to set up your laptop, screens and accessories correctly can prevent problems further down the line. If you’re using a laptop at a desk, you will find that you’re often looking down to see your screen, which can lead to neck pain and headaches.

Your monitor should line up so that when you’re sitting up straight and looking forward, your eyes are roughly 25% to 30% below the top of the screen as this will keep your neck and shoulders level and in alignment. You may need to use a laptop stand or monitor riser to lift your screen higher and invest in a separate, detachable keyboard and mouse so that you can keep your arms and wrists level too.

The finishing touches

Once you’ve got the practicalities sorted, it’s time to think about the added extras that will make your home office a pleasant and productive space for you.

Think carefully about the colour scheme and any decor you want to include such as wall art, inspirational quotes or photographs. These little extra touches should be inspiring and help you stay focused rather than be distracting or make the space feel cluttered. If you need to get creative during your workday then purple is a good colour to incorporate, whereas yellow is cheery and motivating, helping to lift those Monday morning blues.

You might also want to include some indoor plants in your workspace as houseplants can aid concentration and lower stress levels. Bookcases, shelving and storage cupboards can help you keep your home office tidy and ensure you have everything easily to hand, ready to work.

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